Photographer killed in Libya was Oscar nominee

LOS ANGELES: British photographer and filmmaker Tim Hetherington, who was killed Wednesday by mortar fire in Libya, covered unrest throughout his career, including work in Afghanistan on an Oscar-nominated film.Born in Liverpool, England, 41-year-old Hetherington studied literature at Oxford University, and later to the Cardiff School of Journalism to study photojournalism.In an interview with AFP at last year’s Sundance Film Festival — where his film “Restrepo” about a group of US soldiers in Afghanistan won the Grand Jury Prize — Hetherington said that when “you’ve been through so much combats… you seek an emotional honesty.That honesty, he said, “is not about politics of the left or the right. It’s about showing these guys how they are.”Hetherington covered brutal civil wars in Africa for several years and was the only photographer living behind rebel lines in Liberia, during the 2003 conflict which formed the backdrop of the film “Liberia: An Uncivil War.”

He worked on the acclaimed 2007 documentary “The Devil Came on Horseback” that examined genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region.For leading rights group Human Rights Watch, Hetherington documented killings on the Darfur-Chad border in 2006.But it was his work in Afghanistan that earned him greatest recognition, not least from his peers with the 2007 World Press Photo Award for his photographs of American soldiers.Through his experiences in that country he co-directed with Sebastian Junger the documentary “Restrepo,” where they spent a year documenting daily life of a platoon of US soldiers in the Afghan region of Korengal, a Taliban stronghold along the restive border with Pakistan.In the AFP interview at, Hetherington recalled how he “filmed everything.””I’m a photographer, I’m an image-maker, I’m used to it so it’s more intuitive for me,” he said.”I think what we show is both the good and the bad, we’re just honest about it. I think that’s the strength of our experience over ten years of war reporting.”Restrepo” went on to win a nomination for an Academy Award, and inspired the publication of a book of Hetherington’s portraits of US soldiers called “Infidel.”

On Tuesday, he sent his last post to his Twitter account, where he described the conflict of his latest mission, covering the conflict in the north African country as contributing photographer for Vanity Fair magazine.”In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO,” Hetherington wrote.He was killed by mortar fire in Misrata in an attack that also killed Getty photographer Chris Hondros and saw two other colleagues wounded.”Tim will be dearly missed as an irreplaceable friend and contributor to our agency since the earliest days. He combined a fierce intelligence with a deeply creative approach to photography and filmmaking that marked him apart from his peers,” said the photo agency Panos Pictures in a statement.His friend and colleague Jon Lee Anderson wrote in an homage for the New Yorker that the photographer shared his hopes, doubts, and aspirations “with an enthusiasm and a generosity that made him special.”Hetherington, Anderson wrote, was trying “to look into the souls of men, whose truths are perhaps more exposed in that environment than in any other — and to show the rest of us what he saw.”He gave us a legacy in the important work he left behind, and, for those of us who had the honor to know Tim as a friend, a cherished memory of a man whose own soul was very intact.”His family said in a statement released to Vanity Fair that it was “with great sadness we learned that our son and brother” Hetherington was killed, saying “he will be forever missed.” – Yahoonews