Pictures Of War
I heard the news late yesterday that journalist and filmmaker Tim Hetherington, along with his associate Chris Hondros, were killed in Misrati, Libya, after receiving wounds inflicted from a mortar attack.
Hetherington received an Academy Award nomination for the film he co-directed about the American troops at the tip of the spear in Afghanistan, in the Korengal Valley, earlier this year, “Restrepo.” The documentary grew out of the superb book that journalist Sebastian Junger also wrote about what he saw with American troops in the Korengal.
Hondros was a Pulitzer Prize-nominated photographer whose work has graced the front pages of many newspapers and magazines with pictures from war zones around the world.
I only knew these individuals through their work, but as a self-confirmed news junkie, I greatly appreciated the personal sacrifice they made to bring back the pictures and moving images that they did from the world’s most troubled spots.
It would be easy to dismiss such individuals as adrenalin-addicted war zone junkies, but the truth is these men and women are often the only people there to bear witness and document the atrocities, aftermath, and consequences of the world’s conflicts.
If you’ve not yet seen “Restrepo,” I would encourage you to do so — but be prepared, it’s a heart-wrenching look at the good and bad of life on the front lines. And when I say front lines, I mean way out front. In the Korengal, American servicemen could wait a good 30 minutes for any air support to reach them, so they were pretty much on their own.
Them and the Taliban.
No matter what you think of the situation in Libya or the Arab Spring more broadly, I think it takes a special kind of person to run into a war zone carrying only a Sony HD camera or a Nikon.
Both Hodros and Hetherington will be missed, though I suspect their pictures will live with us for a long time to come.