Archive for April, 2011
I’ve spent today getting back to work after a kidney infection. I felt rough. It was nothing compared to how I felt when I finally checked back in with the worlds of Twitter and Facebook, however.
Reports have been circling all day, that four photojournalists had been killed and/or injured while working on the front line in Misrata, Libya. The reports were contradicting each other as to the number who had died, so I waited until it became clear.
It has now been confirmed, by the UK Foreign Office (via The Telegraph) that the photojournalist and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, Tim Hetherington was killed. Two other photographers (Chris Hondros and Guy Martin) are seriously injured, in a critical condition (Hondros has been reported to be in a coma as this post was being published). A further photographer, freelancer Michael Brown, was injured but is not in a serious condition.
Update It has now been confirmed by Getty that Chris Hondros has also died from the injuries he sustained in the blast in Libya.
Update Anastasia Taylor-Lind, friend of Guy Martin has tweeted to state “Horrific news from Libya today. My dear friend Guy Martin is in a bad way but has been stabilized in Misurata. Praying he pulls through x” She has further said that his condition is still, however, critical. I have my fingers crossed, and wish the best to all who know him.
NY Times has updatedstating that “Mr. Martin, a British citizen, underwent vascular surgery on Wednesday night, according to the same account. As the night progressed, Mr. Liohn said that Mr. Martin’s bleeding had been stopped and that his prospects had improved.” I am still hopeful that he will survive.
Update Guy Martin’s family have today (Thurs, 21st April, 2011) issued a statement to say that Guy’s condition is “serious, but stable”. More details can be found here
Update C.J. Chivers reports on how the bodies of Tim and Chris began their journey home swiftly.
The news was first reported, using social media sites, by André Liohn, a colleague who was at the hospital where all involved were taken. According to the early reports, the incident happened when they were working together and were hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.
Tim Hetherington was born in Liverpool, a city which is soon to host it’s first photography festival, Look11. The theme for the festival is “Social Justice” in keeping with 2011 being the year of social justice in Liverpool, coming 30 years after the Toxteth riots. The Look11 Festival Artistic Director, Stephen Snoddy, is already seeking a way inwhich Tim’s contribution to both photography and the wider world may be suitably remembered within this Festival.
As I wrote on the first Facebook report I read of this sad news, my deepest condolences and sincerest thoughts go out to all the families and friends of those involved in today’s tragedy. It is a sad, sad loss, and the loss to the world of photography is only a small fraction of its true magnitude.
Last year, Tim created “Diary” described as a “personal and experimental film that expresses the subjective experience of my work, and was made as an attempt to locate myself after ten years of reporting. It’s a kaleidoscope of images that link our western reality to the seemingly distant worlds we see in the media.” This 20-minute work can be viewed here.
Update: Statement From Look11
Tim Hetherington features this year in Look11, Liverpool’s photography festival which is centred around social justice and throws focus on the role of photographers and in particular the work of documentary photographers and photojournalists. The work of Tim will be presented in a show entitled ‘Collateral Damage’ exploring images associated with atrocity that do not depict the actual act of violence or the victim itself, but rather depicts the circumstances around which such acts occurred. Hethrington’s contribution to the show includes some of his images from Liberia in which he gave focus for over 4 years of his 8 years in West Africa.
Look11 are deeply sadened by the news of loss today and pay tribute to the courageous role Tim Hetherington has taken as a photographer in documenting some of the most challenging scenes. Hetherington has gained world recognition for his work with awards such as the world press photo of the year and we hope to find some way at this time in Liverpool of further recognising and celebrating one of Liverpool’s greatest photographers.
Update:From Erica McDonald:
In lieu of flowers, the loved ones of Chris Hondros kindly request donations be made to The Chris Hondros Fund. This fund will provide scholarships for aspiring photojournalists and raise awareness of issues surrounding conflict photography.
The Chris Hondros Fund
…c/o Christina Piaia
50 Bridge Street #414
Brooklyn, New York 11201
Update:Michael Brown, injured in the blast, gives an update via Facebook:
Dear friends and colleagues,
Thank you all for the messages of love and support.
I want to write to each one of you but I don’t have the energy now. Nor do I know what to say. I cannot make sense of what happened and can only think of the people involved and what was lost. I just feel lucky to be alive.
I saw Guy this morning and he is recovering well, his quick wit well intact. There are many who deserve mention for helping us these past days – photographers Guillermo Cervera, Nicole Tung, André Liohn and countless Libyans. And Katie Orlinsky, who helped save my life.
I felt fortunate to work alongside Tim and Chris. I watched, listened and learned from them, the veterans of our group. I especially enjoyed the intellect of Chris and the creativity of Tim, both men at the top of their game.
They were great people, they cared immensely and it showed in their work. Because of them, there is light in the dark places and humanity is less distant.
Let us all hope and pray for the Libyan people, fighting day after day, that this hell will be over soon.
Update:Please take a moment to write a message to Tim Hetherington’s family and share it with his friends.
I’ve missed a few other updates out as there’s so much to search for. I’ll try to add more later. Please feel free to post links I’ve missed in the comments section and I’ll add them later. Many thanks.
More information about this tragedy can be found here:
Statement to Vanity Fair, from Tim Hetherington’s family
Panos Pictures (Tim’s agency)
Satement from Foto8
David Alan Harvey, Magnum photographer and friend and neighbour of Tim Hetherington, remembers him
New York Times
Committee to Protect Journalists
British Journal of Photography report
Time Pictures Memoriam
Vice Magazine interview with Tim on his work and time in Liberia
Liverpool Echo remembers Tim
The New Yorker Memoriam
Long Story – Liberia Retold (Tim’s work on Human Rights Watch website)
Tim Hetherington HOST podcast at Foto8
Tim remembered by friend and fellow photographer, Jack Hill, in The Times
Graydon Carter of Vanity Fair remembers Tim Hetherington
NY Times Parting Glance – Memories of those who knew Tim.
Touching personal remembrance by Elizabeth Dickinson at Foreign Policy blog
Chris Hondros, remembered at Life
Chris Hondros’ work from this day, at NY Times
Tim Hetherington’s Sleeping Soldiers – single screen (2009)
Chris Hondros’ last works
LA Times report on Chris Hondros
NY Times Updated Report on the Tragedy
Frontline Club interview with Tim Hetherington, which they have been asked to share with people
Getty Images CEO remembers Chris Hondros
Coalition YES remembers Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington
The images of Libya filed by Guy Martin the morning before this tragedy
Tim Hetherington Obituary in The Guardian
Fellow photographer, Andrew Hetherington, fondly remembers Tim.
Brooklyn flag at Brooklyn Borough Hall at half mast for Tim and Chris
My own work generally falls within what could be termed documentary photography and/or street photography, but Brian is one of my favourite photographers, despite his work frequently falling outside this sphere. His use of lighting is masterful, and his ideas are highly creative.
As it happens, he showed some early street photography he had done (from the mid-70s) at Format Festival this year, and one of his images in particular was a stand out in that Festival for me. This one.
The work on show in Walsall is drawn from a commission for which Brian focussed on the people of the Black Country, where he grew up. He feels those formative years were incredibly influential in shaping the work he later made as a photographer, and this return to his home town is as much an exploration of himself as it is an exploration of others.
I’m looking forward to being there.
On Monday, I walked through the Marketplace in Derby, and saw the Magnum photo stands.
Now, I know that sometimes companies feel the need to undertake a rebranding exercise in an effort to remain “fresh and current” or to diversify their revenue streams.
But I was rather surprised to walk through the Marketplace in Derby on Tuesday, only to see that where the Magnum photo stands had been the day before was now transformed into a giant tent with a hot pink sign declaring the forthcoming show by The Ladyboys of Bangkok.
Personally, I think “Magnum” is still the snappier title.
Opening week was, quite simply, amazing. I have to hand it to the guys at Format, they really put together an excellent festival – the theme is Street Photography, with the caption “Right Here, Right Now”, and the events included a week-long Magnum workshop taught by Bruce Gilden, Richard Kalvar, and Chris Steele-Perkins. Those guys also gave talks during the first couple of days, as did Format Patron for this year, Joel Meyerowitz, while Brian Griffin who is the Annual Patron of Format also did a lighting workshop.
Surrounding this, Format also organised some heavy-duty portfolio reviews with a wide range of people working in photography, a launch party and post-Conference dinner, and other assorted events. So, there was hardly time to breath. Yet, the whole Format crew handled it like it was a simple operation – very professional, very accommodating, and very relaxed. And Quad’s coffee area quickly became the hub for informal meetings, dinner arrangements, spontaneous portfolio reviews and much more.
And it was this atmosphere that has been the biggest talking point for Format this year. While I am a devotee to the kind of work on display, many who attended the festival pursued forms of photography that fell outside the remit of this year’s festival. Yet everyone had a good time, was made to feel welcome, and enjoyed the communal atmosphere of the festival. I’m used to hearing people speak about festival and say, “there were a few works I liked, yeah” but with Format, the overwhelming response was “it was a great event”. Format was, in that sense, a true festival; a happening and gathering of minds, people sharing their passion and vibing off each other’s enthusiasm. Other photography festivals will have their work cut out to replicate the inscrutable and high quality of atmosphere that the guys at Format worked so hard to successfully achieve. And I’m eager to return to Derby for the next Festival, to see if they can top this year’s.
I was particularly taken by speaking to Joel Meyerowitz who pulled me to one side during the post-Conference dinner to tell me he had enjoyed my talk, mostly for my evident passion for photography. A strange situation indeed, as the conversation was one I had imagined happening, only with him saying all of my lines, but we both stood there just vibing off each other’s energy for this work and, had it not been so dark, I would have gone out immediately afterwards to shoot (as it turned out, a few of us did go out drinking later and photographed Derby’s night life).
I returned on Friday for a week’s work with a local photographer, but also to catch the final events. Tom Wood gave a highly engaging talk about his work (and big kudos to Format for getting him to speak, as he is fairly reclusive), and yesterday we saw the premieres of films on street photography by in-Public and also by Cheryl Dunn.
While much quieter than the opening few days, the communal vibe of Format has lasted until the end, and we once again began to congregate informally in Quad’s coffee area, catching up and chatting before arranging our dinner plans. In some ways, this suited me better, as it provided more time to have in depth talks and I have learned tons from the generosity of the photographers, curators, and other photography-folk I met and who gave me sage advice about my future plans. Brian Griffin in particular was kind enough to spend one morning giving me a half-hour appraisal of whether it is better to do an MA in photography or work up by assisting photographers. I am at a cross-roads with my own work and need to plan for the future, and being at Format Festival really helped me get the clarity I needed on where to go next with everything.
And it didn’t hurt that the exhibitions on show featured some seriously top quality work.