RIP Photographer and filmmaker Tim Hetherington killed in Libya

It is with great sadness that I am posting news of the death of documentary photographer and film maker Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondoros. Tim and Getty photographer Chris were killed by a mortar attack in Misurata. Tim was recently nominated for an Academy award for documentary film Restrepo. His family has released a statement, part of which states:  “Tim was in Libya to continue his ongoing multimedia project to highlight humanitarian issues during time of war and conflict. He will be forever missed.”

I interviewed Tim for Hotshoe in April 2009, ahead of the New York Photo Festival 2009 where he gave a talk and previewed the three-screen film Sleeping Soldiers. See links to previous posts about his photo show Long Story: Bit by Bit Liberia reviewed by Katie Lin, on Restrepo with a comment from Tim about receiving the award and a link to a clip from Sleeping Soldiers which was edited by Magali Charrier.

This post is in remembrance of Tim and is sent with thoughts for those close to him.


6 responses to “RIP Photographer and filmmaker Tim Hetherington killed in Libya

  1. Christal Perez

    Thank you for posting this. I just found the news out. I met him at the Getty and he was a very inspiring person.

  2. Thanks, Christal. Yes, he was a very genuine, approachable and aware person as well as a hugely talented photographer and filmmaker. I met Tim a few times and also interviewed him for Hotshoe in 2009, I have the PDF of the print interview which I will post. I was looking forward to seeing so much more of his multimedia work following on from Sleeping Soldiers and The Diaries from Liberia. I do hope that all his work – stills and moving images – gets to be seen by wider audiences and that it all gets the attention it so deserves.

  3. I have just come across this Facebook comment posted by Sheryl Mendez.on Thursday April 21, 2011 at 7:04. Thanks for sharing and here it is in full:

    Almost Dawn in Libya: Chris & Tim, Heading Home by CJ Chivers

    We’re numb here as the clock nears 4:30 a.m., and we’re not quite sure what to do. The deaths of Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington on Tripoli Street still seem unreal. Bryan just walked off from the little space we’ve been huddled in, working. He’ll sleep soon, I hope. The work kept us busy enough to hold the worst of the feelings away. But now the work is almost done, and it will hit again with the same shock as the first word.
    Before that happens, a few words should be typed.

    Everyone who admires Chris and Tim, and everyone who loves them, has a debt of gratitude to Human Rights Watch and to the International Organization for Migration, who together, on extremely short notice, bent the world to get Chris’s and Tim’s remains on the Ionian Spirit, the evacuation vessel that by chance was briefly in Misurata port tonight. The vessel delayed its departure to take them aboard and begin their journeys out. Tim was brought down first, while Chris clung to life. When Chris died, there seemed no time to get him there. But HRW worked the phones, pleading by satellite call to the pier to have the ship held up again. They simultaneously urged one of Chris’s and Tim’s colleagues at the triage center to get Chris’s remains en route through the besieged city by ambulance, assessing — correctly as it turned out — that if they could honestly say that he was on his way that no captain would leave the pier.

    They were right. Chris and Tim are at sea now, heading toward Benghazi, which means, in the indirect but solemn ways that the fallen travel from battlefields, that they are heading home.

    One more thing must be said. None of this would have happened without Andre Liohn, the colleague in the triage tent mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Andre worked all afternoon and night to get word out about Chris and Tim, who are lost, and Mike and Guy, who are wounded. At the end, it was Andre who tended to the details at the hospital to put them in motion toward their families. Without Andre, Chris and Tim would still be in Misurata, in conditions I do not care to describe. Their friends and families would know little, and Chris and Tim would have been off-the-grid, and hard to reach, and the delays in their travel would have been painful for all who want them back. Andre was a savior tonight. He brought hope and humanity to a chaotic, devastating day.

    If you want to know a little more of Andre, let me say this: When I spoke to him a short while ago, I asked if he has been wearing his flak jacket, which I had carried into Misurata for him last week. Tripoli Street is a hell of flying bullets and shrapnel, and he’s on it almost every day. No, he said, I am not wearing it. I asked why not. “I gave it to an ambulance driver,” he said.

    These are the organizations and the people — HRW, IOM, Andre — who make it possible to imagine, on days like these, that we are people still, just as Chris and Tim did in the work that defined their lives.

  4. Another link found via Facebook fromThe Dart Center for Journalism on the tragic deaths of Tim and Chris and some insights into how and why they were in Libya…

    KIA in the Age of Facebook By Teru Kuwayama
    Excerpt from the article found at
    “Tim was a freelancer, who couldn’t even be accurately called a “photographer,” because he did so many other things, and did them all so successfully that none could be considered a defining aspect. At the time he was killed, he wasn’t even on assignment — he just picked up and went, without a paycheck or a safety net. On the night of his death, a distraught friend and colleague shook her head and wondered why he’d risked his life for photographs that might not even be published.

    “Maybe Tim had already answered that question with his last project, an independent documentary film called Restrepo, which seems to have emerged as the defining account of the Afghanistan war. Restrepo pushed so far past the reach of the printed page that Tim might be forgiven for believing that he could make an impact, armed only with his own resourcefulness.

    They are both missed, and the impact of their loss is only beginning to be felt.

  5. Pingback: Photo News – confirmed reports South African photographer Anton Hammerl shot in Libya | HotshoeBlog: Fresh Perspectives on Contemporary Photography

  6. Pingback: Photo News – South African photographer Anton Hammerl shot in Libya by pro-Gadaffi forces

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