Via Photo District News
By David Walker
Photojournalist Tim Hetherington died today in Libya while covering the fighting between rebels and troops loyal to Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, the New York Times has confirmed. Hetherington died after being hit by rocket fire in the city of Misrata.
Hetherington was an award-winning photographer, and was regarded by peers as being among the best photojournalists currently working. News of Hetherington's death, first reported at about 11am EST on Facebook by photographer Andre Liohn, shocked the photojournalism community. Hospitalized at the same time were Chris Hondros, who Getty confirmed is in critical condition, Guy Martin and Michael Christopher Brown.
Hetherington covered social and political issues worldwide, and was most recently based in New York as a contributing photographer to Vanity Fair magazine. He is best known for his year-long collaboration with writer Sebastian Junger, documenting a platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan. The collaboration resulted in a film directed by Hetherington called Restrepo, which won the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at Sundance Film Festival in 2010, and was nominated for an Academy Award earlier this year. Hetherington also published a book from that project called Infidel, which was published last year. He won the top prize at World Press Photo of the Year in 2007 with his photo of a solider in Afghanistan, and an Alfred I duPont Award in 2009, among other awards for his photography.
Previously, he was known for his work in West Africa, including Liberia, where he was a cameraman for a film called Liberia: an Uncivil War (2004). He also completed several photographic projects in Africa. In 2009, he published Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold, about that country's recent history.
Hetherington was born in Liverpool, UK in 1970. He studied literature at Oxford, and earned a post-graduate diploma in photojournalism from Cardiff in 1996. He began his photojournalism career working for a magazine sold by the homeless, before becoming a regular contributor to The Independent newspaper in London.
He was dedicated to producing long-term narrative projects, and reaching audiences beyond traditional print media. Hetherington told PDN in a 2006 interview that he was interested in reaching TV audiences, academics, and policy makers to gain maximum exposure for his subjects and effect change. "For me, the utility of my work is very important," he said. "Where can we push documentary? where can we put it? because for me, that’s what differentiates me from an artist."