Hetherington and Hondros Are Killed in Libya

The New York Times reports that Tim Hetherington, the conflict photographer who was a director and producer of the film “Restrepo,” was killed in the besieged city of Misurata on Wednesday, and three photographers working beside him were wounded, one fatally, when they came under fire at the city’s front lines.

Chris Hondros, an American working for the Getty photo agency, died within a few hours of devastating brain trauma. Guy Martin of the Panos agency suffered a severe pelvic wound, according to Andre Liohn, a colleague who was at the triage center where the photographers were rushed by rebels after they were struck. The fourth photographer, Michael Christopher Brown, suffered shrapnel injuries to his left shoulder, but his life was not in danger.

Reuters reports that the photographers were among a group caught by mortar fire on Tripoli Street, the main thoroughfare leading into the center of Misrata, the only major rebel-held town in western Libya and besieged by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces for more than seven weeks.

“It was quiet and we were trying to get away and then a mortar landed and we heard explosions,” Spanish photographer Guillermo Cervera said.

The Overseas Press Club issued the following statement that reads here in part:

    Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, who died covering the front lines in Misurata, Libya, were doing what they loved to do and did so well—chronicling the latest in a succession of wars and revolutions, and the innocent victims of conflict… . As an organization that fights year-round for the right of journalists to perform their work and encourages the highest standards of international journalism, we’re devastated by this news. Our sympathy goes out to Tim’s and Chris’s families, friends and colleagues.

Tim Hetherington’s family writes:

    It is with great sadness we learned that our son and brother photographer and filmmaker Tim Hetherington was killed today in Misrata, Libya by a rocket-propelled grenade. Tim will be remembered for his amazing images and his Academy Award nominated documentary “Restrepo” which he co-produced with his friend Sebastian Junger.

    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.

Hetherington, a Liverpool-born photographer, was nominated for an Oscar this year for “Restrepo,” the documentary film he made with the journalist Sebastian Junger. Hetherington and Junger discussed their books, “Infidel” and “War” respectively, and their joint project of the documentary film “Restrepo” at an OPC book night November 17, 2010. More videos from this event can be viewed on the OPC’s Youtube channel.

During their book night, Hetherington spoke about his desire to strike out in a new direction with his work and the public’s perception of war photography. “Photojournalism is at present a melancholy way of conforming to images we already know, it confirms our beliefs and understanding of the world,” he said. “We want to bring something new to the table.”

Hetherington, 41, was scheduled to be one of the presenters at this year’s OPC Awards on April 28. Hetherington won the 2007 OPC David Kaplan Award for ABC News-Nightline report on the 173rd Battle Company in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan, for “The Other War.” He won a World Press Photo award with a still image from the same location in Afghanistan, which was shot while on assignment for Vanity Fair, the magazine he was on assignment for in Libya.

Hondros won the OPC’s Robert Capa Gold Medal Award in 2005 for his photos taken for Getty Images titled, “One Night in Tal Afar.” Photos of Hondros’ OPC award-winning work can be found at the National Press Photographer’s Association. He also won the 2003 OPC John Faber Award for work from Liberia titled “Chaos Enveloping: Liberia’s Deadly Summer.”

The deaths of Hetherington and Hondros brings the number of journalists killed in Libya to four, according to CPJ.org. Mohammed al-Nabbous, Libya Al-Hurra TV, was killed March 19 in Benghazi, Libya, and Ali Hassan al-Jaber, Al-Jazeera, on March 13 in an area near Benghazi, Libya.

MSNBC’s coverage with video >>

Human Rights Watch’s tribute to Tim Hetherington >>

OPC President David A. Andelman is the editor of World Policy Journal. The spring 2011 issue features photos from Tim Hetherington >>