Discussion Topic: Tim Hetherington and Modern-day War Photography

Tim Hetherington, Specialist Tad Donoho screams with pain after getting a ‘pink belly’ for his birthday. Each platoon member strikes his stomach until blood can be seen, hence the name ‘pink belly’, Afghanistan, 2008.

There has been much discussion of the heroic acts of first responders in the wake of last Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing.  A journalist recently wrote “Journalism needs heroes to serve as symbols of its values and worth” and singled out the photographer Tim Hetherington.  This past Thursday, HBO aired a documentary Which Way Is the Frontline From Here? on  Hetherington, a photojournalist who died two years ago 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?  Was it heroic?

Restrepo Trailer

Junger’s obituary for Tim Hetherington

Explore Hetherington’s photos at Yossi Milo Gallery

Since the end of the semester is near, I am lifting the two-week time limit for responses and the deadline for submitting posts to this Discussion Topic is the last day of class, Thursday, May 23rd. 

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


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

  1. Sarah says:

    Hetherington’s vision is one for the books. Most people do not go off into war countries and make it out live. Not even many of the army men and women. Hetherington wanted to show everyone outside of these war countries that it was not easy to be a photographer or a regular person. Looking at Hetherington’s photographs and watching the trailer to Restrepo, I see a man that wanted to show the heroic actions of army men and women but also the heroic actions of the photographers that have to suffer the same fate as the army. Those are the heroes that are fighting for our safety but they are also fighting for the safety of those people in war countries. Sadly while reading Junger obituary on Hetherington it felt like Junger was trying himself to comprehend what happened to his friend and collage. Hetherington is as much as a hero as the men that are given purple hearts and honorable discharge from the army. Everyone in their own right is a hero but Hetherington and his vision is the most heroic thing when it comes to war countries.

  2. “You wanted to communicate to the world about this story- about every story”. This line is the line that stood out most to me in Jungers obituary for Tim Hetherington. This is the beginning of his description of Tim Hetherington’s vision. I think it’s a good way to show how committed Hetherington was and strong of a vision he actually had. To tell every story sounds impossible to me, but the idea of somebody actually trying to accomplish this is amazing. I also saw the trailer for restrepo and I thought it was not only very interesting but very powerful too. I think the realness of what is going is most likely going to be shown in great detail in this documentary. I think Time Hetheringtons work and vision was and is heroic. Everyone has their own opinion on what is heroic but for me dieing while trying to do what you believe in, is one of the most heroic things I can think of. It definitely inspires me and I am sure would inspire many others to actually do something about what they believe in.

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