Discussion Topic: Tim Hetherington and Modern-day War Photography

Tim Hetherington, Sergeant Stitchter, Afghanistan

This week the Yossi Milo Gallery in Chelsea will open an exhibition on photographs by Tim Hetherington, a photojournalist who died last year while covering the conflict in Libya. He was famous for his coverage of American soldiers in Afghanistan and his documentary photographs of the civil war in Liberia.  Hetherington’s photographs of American soldiers became the basis for a critically-acclaimed documentary Restrepo that he co-directed with Sebastian Junger.  Watch the trailer for Restrepo, read Junger’s obituary that was published in Vanity Fair, and explore Hetherington’s photographs at the Yossi Milo Gallery website.  Junger highlights Hetherington’s unique vision but doesn’t explain what he means.  What do you think was Hetherington’s vision?

Restrepo Trailer

Junger’s obituary for Tim Hetherington

Explore Hetherington’s photos on view at Yossi Milo Gallery

Please post your responses and comments by Saturday, April 28.

You can also post reflections on the condolences page of a public website Remembering Tim.

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8 Responses to Discussion Topic: Tim Hetherington and Modern-day War Photography

  1. Jim Groom says:

    Thanks for this post, I never knew about TIm Hetherington, but after browsing the OpenLab courses I found myself down the rabbit hole of reading his obituary, looking and his beautiful and compelling images of the US and Liberian soldiers, as well as thinking about how much of that world remains forever hidden from me, and part of that is by my own choice. So hard to stare horror and terror in the face, but he goes a step more and makes it vulnerable and human. Wow!

    • Sandra Cheng says:

      Whoa, the infamous Jim Groom on the class website, I feel anointed. Hetherington had a gift for communicating the human face of war, and I hope his works spread far and wide posthumously… happy to know that you learned of him here… and you’re welcome.

  2. Denis Fadeyev says:

    Its is tough to see a film as realistic as Restrepo, yet it shows the true story that many of don’t know about and have never given a clear thought .To be honest I have experienced tough days during my service in US Navy, but nothing even close to what our soldiers and Tim Hetherington went through in Iraq or Afghanistan. As Junger mentions in his obituary, Hetherington had a unique vision. A vision, in my opinion, to show the world the true face of war. In order to bring peace to our world. According to Junger Hetherington thought that “young men in combat act in ways that emulate images they’ve seen—movies, photographs” . So by seeing violence in movies or photographs our soldiers emulate that violence in the real world, real combat scenarios. Putting together this fact along with the photographs provided, showing majority of the photographs of resting, calm and peacefully sleeping soldiers, makes me think that Hetherington, had tried to bring a peaceful massage through the photographs instead of more violence for soldiers to feed from.

  3. ssalazar321 says:

    I agree with Denis. Tim Hetherington had a vision and that vision as I see it was to show the world the reality of war. I think as human beings we don’t like to think about the reality of war and the death it brings with it, it’s very tragic but nevertheless it’s the truth. War is real, and I believe that as a photojournalist Tim Hetherington wanted to bring that point across and at the same time see it himself. If not then why else would have risked his life and taken the boat trip to Misrata,Libya? He was passionate about his career and went there with a desire to photograph and record what war really is. In looking at his photographs I can see the emphasis he puts on soldiers, he documented part of their lives while in Afghanistan. He realized that he could only show the world the reality of war by being there and seeing things face to face. Overall he had a vision, one that I think he successfully showed through his photographs.

  4. kathrynli says:

    Tim Hetherington’s photographs are beautiful. It showed the peaceful side of the soldiers; the side that is extremely difficult to imagine. Their family and friends are always praying for their safety while they are out fighting for the country. Little do we know, the moments that Hetherington have captured may lower our worries. There are many photographs where the men possess gleaming smiles on their faces. Everyone there is a family, no matter what part of the planet they are from. They all possess the same goal, and it is to protect their country. The photographs portrayed the reality of war, and it makes the audience reconsider what their definition of warfare may be. Is it a dreadful position to be in where they fight every minute of the day? Or do they have relaxing moments where they may share a few laughs with their fellow soldiers?

  5. smarte5 says:

    I believe Jim Groom has a very interested point when he said “how much of the world forever remains hidden” because lets face it, it really is. Now a days not much of what we see or hear is true, rather a more restricted or thoroughly modified version of the truth. This in part is also our own fault as well because most if not all people don’t want to hear the truth. Tim Hetherington’s photographs as well as his documentary movie Restrepo co-directed with Sebastian Junger, was a great in your face look at one of the many places in the world that most of us wish we never have to see. Its an inside look at what our men & women at arms go through when deployed to these places as well as a reminder of the suffering of the people affected by it. Tim’s Photo’s humanize the face of War without taking away the impact of the message I believe he is trying to relay to the rest of the world. A message that pretty much says hey open up your eyes at whats going on in the world & don’t shy away from it because in one way or another it affects us all.

  6. Bianca Silva says:

    I agree with the others. He wanted to show the reality of war. To show hard and dangerous it is. No one seems to realize what its really like for the soldiers to be there, what they go through and the conditions they lived in. His photographs are great. They show another part of war, a better part. They show the soldiers together, happy. Letting people know that the soldiers aren’t totally miserable. Shows the friendships and brotherhood among the men. Hetherington covered the different parts of war.

  7. Bianca Silva says:

    I agree with the others. He wanted to show the reality of war. To show hard and dangerous it is. No one seems to realize what its really like for the soldiers to be there, what they go through and the conditions they lived in. His photographs are great. They show another part of war, a better part. They show the soldiers together, happy. Letting people know that the soldiers aren’t totally miserable. Shows the friendships and brotherhood among the men. Hetherington covered the different parts of war.

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