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

  1. kkathia123 says:

    “You had a very specific vision for your work and for your life, and that vision included your death. It didn’t have to, but that’s how it turned out” were the words of Sebastian Junger in memory to his collaborator and friend, Tim Hetherington.
    It was sad to read about the tragically death of Tim Hetherington in Libya by Junger, but also, it was very touchy and meaningful because Junger told us with his symbolism and strong words that Tim died doing what he loved, which was photographing.

    By observing at the the Yossi Milo Gallery website, I think that Hetherington’s vision was to communicate the intangible and emotional side of the war to the world through his photographs. His photographs show people with strong emotions, people who consider them selves as one family, people with noble feelings, dreams and hopes, rather than angry, hysterical and cruel soldiers whom mission is to fight and kill their enemies. In other words, Hetherington’s photographs emphasize the human side of a soldier.

  2. ramlakhanp says:

    His story is very compelling and what he brought to the table..He took photos of soldiers in their natural state given the fact that they have very hectic lives and every moment of every second counts…other images where captured when the soldiers were sleeping representing them at peace…not many people are able to see this side of them and Hetherington captured that.. Hetherington obituary written by Junger stated” You had this idea of a feedback loop between the world of images and the world of men that continually reinforced and altered itself as one war inevitably replaced another in the long tragic grind of human affairs.” Wanting to show the people what he saw through his lens…

  3. When talking about a war, people always talk about the combat. People think on the soldiers as the ones who are never afraid and the ones who protect the country without fear. However, Hetherington wanted to show another side of soldiers. He wanted to show their human side. In his pictures, he is getting inside of their lives behind the war. He tries to show that they are seeking for comfort and they are trying to have some pleasant moments even during those troubled times. Soldiers want to stay away of their fears of losing their lives during combat for at least a moment. They try to share some laughs in those moments where they are away from conflict. Hetherington wanted to show the world that soldiers are not just people who go and kill their enemies. He wanted to show that they have lives that they would love to be living in different conditions.

    • lalizazhu says:

      I definitively agree with Florencia, Hetherington showed a whole new side of the soldiers. War has caused so many deaths that we have automatically created negative thoughts with anything related to war. Speaking personally, I would not have thought about the feelings of those soldiers but after seeing Hetherington’s photographs, I just started thinking about soldiers from another perspective. The pictures of the soldiers sleeping make them look so peaceful, like there was nothing going on around them. I loved the pictures where the soldiers are showing that although there is a war going on, there is also time for a smile, a hug, and especially friendship.

  4. Aleckzzz says:

    No doubts Tim Hetherington was a talented photographer. That means he should look at the world differently and as a photo journalist he should be at the right place at the right time. From reviewing his works that he took in Afghanistan and Liberia I can tell he had a very nice sense of drama. I like his great color solutions and composition skills as well.
    Hetherington’s job was to depict a war. While depicting war as a drama, he could show it through people emotions. His portraits of soldiers unique, because he showed them as normal men, who can have human feelings and necessities. On his photos solders appear laughing, playing, sleeping, and exhausted. Through his works Tim Hetherington reminds us that the war is not an abstract thing — all the job is done by people who at least not that different from all the other people whom they defend.

  5. Winnie says:

    Through his photography he depicts the emotion fully. You get to fully experience the emotion the soldiers are expressing that you rarely get to see. When I think of war, I think of combat, and soldiers that are 24/7 alert and ready. But in these images I see a different side of them where they are asleep.

  6. sarah52 says:

    Tim Hetherington was a talented modern war photographer. We see the soldiers on a war combat as those brave heart who sacrifice their live to protect our country. Hetherington wanted the world to see them in a different prospective. To me I think He wanted to portrait that the solders are human being too. Beside the war how they act, sleep and pass their time as a regular human being. He wanted to depict the hidden emotions of soldiers through photography. And I think he was successful on doing that through his pictures on Afghanistan and Libia.

  7. mohsensoofi says:

    photographer’s mind is a question by picture which he takes as to ‘why is this picture?’. The answer to the picture is left for the people in the world that looks at it. That is how the pictures have been a part of the documentary which is seen by the world. In its own way the pictures taken is not only what people say about it but what the photographer had in mind while taking it. All the positive feedback from the audiences that has positive effects must be the photographer’s vision and that has made its purpose.

  8. superartist says:

    I remember shakespeare saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder Tim Hetherington is sort of this beholder that takes us to see the beauty of the side of war. I mean come on when think of war you really find no beauty. Images of death and horror come racing to your mind but according to Tim Hetherington vision he takes photos that represent the raw and war pictures that paint the real side of the war. I looked at the gallery that presented his photos and I noticed that even though the soldiers were in a very dangerous and destructive place that Tim Hetherington still showed the down to earth side of the soldiers in a couple of his pictures I see some soldiers playing around like brothers and acting silly while in others they show real impacting messages that leave the viewer thing . I believe that vision that Tim Hetherington made was for his viewer to think about what the war in Libya was.

    This is my post!

  9. mzambrana says:

    Tim Hetherington, died doing what he loved. It amazing how something as PHOTOGRAPHY can be something that drives people to do the unpridicatble. His pictures showed true emotions of the soldier and it wall all through the vision of TIM.

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