Posts Tagged tim hetherington

Landscapes of Conflict – Part I

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate to be invited by Paul Lowe to attend a one-day seminar for LCC students at Liverpool’s CUC.

Why Liverpool for a London University event? Well, Paul Lowe and Harry Hardie have curated the group show, Collateral Damage for Look11. The show features conflict photography and seeks to offer a refreshingly different perspective to the repetition of ‘stock’ compositions that are heavily featured in photojournalism new pieces.

The show runs Tues-Sun, until 26th June 2011. Check it out while you can – my personal opinion is that it is one of the strongest exhibitions in the Look11 festival, and the curatorial aspects of the show really enhance the selection of images by contrasting the approaches of different photographers and positioning them so the different perspectives play off each other very strongly.

The day began with a tour of the show, and some time spent visiting some of the other Look11 exhibitions; some of the Lightbox work and the John Davies/Donovan Wylie Signs of War exhibition at Milk and Sugar. This was followed after lunch by talks from Paul Lowe (LCC), photographer Mishka Henner, and Dr. Jennifer Pollard (LCC), and a roundtable discussion that also included John Davies.

Collateral Damage features work by Simon Norfolk, Tim Hetherington, Zijah Gafic, Paul Lowe, Edmund Clark, Lisa Barnard, Ashley Gilbertson, Adam Broomberg and Olivier Chanarin, Brett Van Ort, Mishka Henner.

The exhibition is largely laid out across three ‘corridors’ where images from two photographers face each other. Brett Van Ort and Edmund Clark are paired together, both works dealing with “what exists but can’t be seen” – Brett’s work shows beautiful looking landscapes in frames which open to reveal coldly photographed product photography of the mines hidden in the landscape, while Edmund Clark’s work comprises photographs of letters sent to inmates at Guantanamo Bay. The photographs are of scanned copies of the letters, with text blacked out, as prisoners never received the actual letters themselves but the scanned copies. The photographs are the more poignant for this fact – the sense of distance the viewer feels is akin in kind to the detachment the inmate has from the actual letter sent, and often sent by a family member. Both works allude to dislocation between beauty hinted at (or proclaimed, in Brett’s work) and the dangers that aren’t at first apparent to the viewer, but ever present for those living in these spaces.

The next ‘corridor’ features work by Tim Hetherington (whose tragic death this blog wrote about here ) and by Lisa Barnard. A perhaps unintended consequence of this pairing is that, in light of Tim’s recent death in Libya, and the attendant discussion in the media and photojournalism forums of the psychological effects of warfare on both those who participate in it and those who document it, Lisa’s images depicting the psychological training and treatment of American troops takes on a further potency than it otherwise might have had. Tim’s work featured in this exhibition is early work, examining the graffiti in post-conflict zones, pointing to the territorial nature of disputes. These ghostly echoes of the causes and basis of war are powerful, both for their similarity in appearance to the markings left in all urban spaces, and for the link with Lisa’s work, namely that marks of war live on after the war has ended, both physically and psychologically. It makes the viewer question where the end of a war actually is.

The final corridor pairs Paul Lowe’s images of the wall separating Israel and Palestine, and Mishka Henner’s aerial google views of American military bases around the world (his 51 states). Each offering unique perspectives on the divisions of architecture, symbolic of the divisions between nation-states, these images carry a hypnotic weight through repetition of content and framing. There is a pervading sense here, as in other work featured in Collateral Damage, that this could be anywhere, and the absence of stereotypical or easy markers for locating the spaces depicted adds to the force of interrogation the viewer faces – by refusing to show whose backyard this is, it becomes everyone’s backyard. Interesting, then, that Lowe and Hardie feature Ashley Gilbertson’s Bedrooms of the Fallen along the side wall, printed in large-scale panoramic format (a powerful counter-point to the comparatively tiny panoramics of Lowe’s Wall), depicting bedrooms of American soldiers. Instigated after Ashley was working on assignment and witnessed the death of a soldier who had taken him to the top of a mosque for picture opportunities, the work is laden with emotional cues and is reminiscent of the Rimbaud poem, The Sideboard and Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology (see also Gibson, Affordances, 1971) – objects are never merely objects but always exist in relation to us. In this case, the artefacts of youth where life has ended, there is an unsettling feeling created by looking at a bedroom that will never be slept in again. The relationships of attachment, entertainment, and utility that these objects once had in relation to their owners are now broken, and instead the whole room becomes a shrine for the family remembering their loss.

Next to Ashley’s work, and on the opposite wall, creating a pair crossing the walls of Van Ort and Clark, are two images by Simon Norfolk, from Full Spectrum Dominance: Missiles, Rockets, Satellites in America. Like Van Ort and Clark, there is a notion here of what can’t be seen – the missiles are created and transported in top secrecy, and the satellites are fired into space, where they can’t be seen, only their effects are tangible. Here, Norfolk photographs the single brief moment when they are visible, and spectacularly so, during their launch. That these two images are the only clear signs of the “shock and awe” of warfare in the exhibition reminds us of the link between the quieter images presented by the other photographers and the newspaper images we are all saturated with, but Norfolk does it in a conceptually intriguing manner; the viewer is reminded of the childhood (or childish? maybe) interest in war games for their spectacle, for the fireworks we celebrate with every November, for the sheer sense of display.

In all, Lowe and Hardie ought to be commended for producing an exhibition that explores a wide range of different dimensions to the effects of war, on the military involved, the people stuck in war zones, and the families of those lost in the name of supposedly noble causes. Henner’s work also shows how the military machine is everywhere, and inescapable in terms of distancing oneself geographically (and, by extension emotionally), the from the debate. The work presented is quiet but insistent in it’s interrogation of the viewer, and manages to ask questions without polemicising strongly one way or another. A fantastic exhibition, and extremely well delivered.

You can read Part II of this review here, where I get into the talks and discussions in the afternoon session of this event.

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RIP Tim Hetherington

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.

Michael

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
Vanity Fair
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

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