Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I can only wonder how Sebastian Junger is holding up today.  It had to have been shocking to have gotten the news he did.  His famous partner on a couple of media projects, the documentary "Restrepo"  and book, "War", Tim Hetherington had been killed.  Hetherington, 41, was killed in a mortar attack in Misrata, Libya doing what he did best, report on Wars.  Three other photographers,  including Chris Hondros, a New York-based photographer for the Getty agency,  were seriously injured while covering the front line battles between Mommar Qaddafi's soldiers and rebel forces. (Note: Hondros died later in the day from his injuries.)

A Hetherington "Masterpiece" of a bunker scene in Restrepo

Hetherington was the visual side of the great partnership with Junger.  In 2009,  he and  Junger made "Restrepo".  The two worked together in Afghanistan on the assignment for Vanity Fair.  They spent a year with one platoon in the Korengal Valley, which is billed as the deadliest valley in Afghanistan.  They recorded video to document their experience, and this footage went on to form the basis for "Restrepo".  The title refers to the outpost where they were embedded, which was named after a combat medic, Pfc. Juan Restrepo, killed in action.  The film won the 2010 Grand Jury Prize for a domestic documentary.  It was also nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary.

If you ask any soldier in Afghanistan today..."have you seen Restrepo?" the numbers might be close to 100%.  This documentary had significant impact on our troops.  Not to mention the percentage of family members of deployed soldiers.  It told a story unlike any before.  That's why his death today is one of great significance.

The Hetherington-Junger collaboration on  the book "War" was simply amazing.  Junger expanded upon the experiences they encountered while in the "valley" and Hetherington provided visuals.  Time Magazine named "War",  a "Top Ten Non-fiction book of 2010".    

Vanity Fair's website had this to offer of their colleague.  "Hetherington was widely respected by his peers for his bravery and camaraderie. His imaginative, even artistic, approach to photojournalistic subjects led to many honors, including a fellowship from the National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts as well as grant from the Hasselbald Foundation.   As recently as yesterday, Hetherington tweeted about “indiscriminate shelling” by pro-Qaddafi forces in Misrata, and he sent an email to a Vanity Fair editor, “Am currently in misrata - would have made interesting article with SJ” (meaning Junger).

The 2007 World Press Photo of the Year
Hetherington was born in Liverpool, United Kingdom.  He studied literature and photojournalism at Oxford. He was residing in New York City at the time of his death.  I can think of one other famous media duo, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.  They became famous for their uncovering of the Watergate break-in of 1972.  Hetherington and Junger won't be far behind if discussion comes up regarding  famous "media teams".  Sadly, they were only getting started.



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