Monday, 30 May 2011

Tim Hetherington

I've been thinking about Tim Hetherington for awhile. You may remember he was in the news recently as he was killed whilst in Libya. The Times magazine also featured some his work recently which I was moved as it was so honest and beautiful.

The work I am refering to is Sleeping Soldiers. Hetherington documented these soldiers whilst sleeping when they are most vulnerable and perhaps arguably innocent and defensless. These photographs make up the book Infidel.

"The book Infidel and film Restrepo are about the intimacy of war," explained Hetherington in an interview inThe Independent. "And that's what I see when I see the photographs of these guys sleeping. We are used to seeing soldiers as cardboard cut-outs. We dehumanise them, but war is a very intimate act. All of those soldiers would die for each other. We're not talking about friendship. We're talking about brotherhood.

The film of Sleeping Soldiers can be seen here.

I also watched Diary by Hetherington, which he made after ten years of documenting war as an "attempt to locate myself after ten years of reporting". I found these videos highly moving and haunting. Watching them, I felt fearful and shocked at the brutality of war which is Hetherington does not sugar-coat. Watching these films, I also wondered how he got by in these situations of war as he was a Westerner and begun to wonder about the horrors that he had seen yet was only showing us a edited version. What struck me was his bravery to go out and photograph and film as a way for him to understand the atrocity of war yet still create something beautiful but not in an awful glamourous way.

It's a terrible loss, but not in vain as Hetherington's work shed new light on the truth of war that we cannot take for granted.

And I can only wish for the safety and health of those directly involved in conflicts all over the world.

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