Chris Hondros was a Getty Images photographer who was killed in April 2011 while covering the war in Libya. Last month, I wrote about a Kickstarter his friend Greg Campbell had launched to raise funds for a film that would explore Chris’s life by telling the stories behind some of his most famous photos, including the one above which has an amazing back story. The campaign is set to wrap up on Aug. 8, and Campbell is hoping to raise $100,000 to fund most of the film. You can read my story about the project here or donate here.
Chris Hondros was a Getty Images photographer who was killed in April 2011 while covering the war in Libya. His friend Greg Campbell launched a Kickstarter this week to raise funds for a film that would explore Chris’s life by telling the stories behind some of his most famous photos.
That includes the above shot of Joseph Duo, a Liberian soldier Hondros photographed during the country’s deadly civil war in July 2003. The two didn’t formally meet until two years later, and afterwards, Hondros paid for Duo to finish high school in hopes he would find a better life.
"Indeed, that has been one of the most troubling parts of the deaths of Tim and Chris Hondros. Chris has somehow dropped from public view. He was a consummate professional and classical photojournalist; quietly, consistently and diligently covering all the major conflicts since the late 90′s in an even-handed style. Amidst his steady approach are two icons of war photography from Liberia and Iraq. He was also popular and highly respected by his peers. Yet his name is often mentioned as an afterthought, if at all. Paradoxically, it was this kind of elevation of the individual to the exclusion of the bigger ideas that Tim was trying to reject with his work."
— Peter van Agtmael in a piece for Lightbox about Chris Hondros, Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger’s HBO documentary
Junger’s film also seems to question whether Hetherington took his desire to be on the front line too far. According to the documentary, Hetherington, who was 40 when he died, was conflicted about his desire to settle down with his girlfriend, Idil Ibrahim, and his quest to tell the story of war. In the documentary he even acknowledges that war photography can be a “very destructive thing to carry on beyond a certain age.”
The film ends with footage Hetherington shot in Misrata before he and Hondros were killed, including a visit inside a building were rebel soldiers were trying to smoke out enemy snipers by sending burning tires into rooms where they were barricaded.
The area felt unsafe to some journalists who had been with Hetherington and his group earlier that day, including photographer Andre Liohn, who questions in the film whether the group had put themselves in unnecessary danger.
“In the war you lose a lot of things (and) one of the things that you lose can be the original connection that took you there,” Liohn says. “I felt they were not paying the proper attention and the proper respect to everything that was happening around. They were trying to get in front of the rebels.”
Junger said he included Liohn’s comments because he still struggles with the question of whether Hetherington took too much of a risk that day.
“The decision to go out to the front line is inherently risky. It’s inherently understandable because front lines are compelling. And it’s inherently stupid. It’s all of them at the same time,” Junger said. “Everyone makes that decision, and most of the time it goes fine. And when it doesn’t go fine everyone goes, ‘What the hell were you thinking?’”
Junger added, “That said, I do wonder why after the intensity of fighting that Tim was part of in the morning, why he felt compelled to go out for a second dose, a second helping? That I don’t quite get. But had I been there, I think I would have been perfectly capable of doing the same thing. So I don’t want to be too judgmental about it. But I do wonder.”
I talked to Sebastian Junger about his Tim Hetherington documentary (via Yahoo News)
Chris Hondros was a Getty Images photographer who was killed in April 2011 while on assignment in Libya. He was also a longtime resident of DUMBO Brooklyn, and several of his friends and Getty colleagues are submitting his name as part of an effort to name a lawn at the Brooklyn Bridge Park in his memory. If you’d like to participate—and you should—send an email with his name to email@example.com by March 20.
CNN’s photography blog has a beautiful post featuring photos from the late Chris Hondros, the Getty Images photographer who was killed almost one year ago while on assignment in Libya. He was posthumously named a Pulitzer finalist Tuesday for his war coverage, but CNN takes a different look at his images over the years, focusing on the children he featured in his photos. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)