Monday, 4 August 2014

Which Way Is the Front Line from Here The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington...


As a passionate photographer, I felt the need to share my thoughts on working photographers particularly those who unquestionably devote their interests in the human condition of rights. I watched the film by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington entitled "Restrepo" and am going to be watching the sequel Korengal.

The title of this post above is the film about the life and time of Photographer, Filmmaker, and Human Rights Activist Tim Hetherington. He was born in Birkenhead and studied at Oxford, from the film you get to see his generosity and his belief that people, no matter what your colour, creed or nationality. We are all connected.

I like the warmth that the statement and thought process brings, I am a photographer whose interest in photography and social documentary will hopefully have such a rewarding career and life as Tim Hetherington’s in this chosen vocation.

We know through history that photographers who take up this route of or rather this genre of the medium become hardened to some degree, however they are not without some form of self-imposed torture. The photographers mind in this context is to get the story without question, the reason because we must inform and educate.

The loss of many a journalist is always a sad and tragic loss, however what they leave behind is a legacy to all photographers and journalists alike. 

So is that a plausible reason to continue to follow this field of work, this genre of photography?

Yes, of course it is. I can remember the mandate to which I signed a declaration to join the United Nations Forces. Whilst I was they’re often patrolling the so-called buffer zone.
One day in fact the month of August 1996, was a perfect example of how protest leads to death. The Greek Cypriot Solomos Solomou was fatally wounded by gunshots to the head.
He attempted to take down the Turkish Cypriot flag.

This took place during the protests it wasn’t the only incident to have taken place during 1996.

It was my first real insight into how protest works for the greater good; the Greek Cypriots believe that the Turkish forces do not have a right on Greek soil.

It was not the first death I had witnessed though, however it did make me think that this person truly believed in what he was doing.

This was another reason for wanting to get into journalism and in particularly photojournalism. Witnessing events like this I felt powerless even in a UN uniform, holding a rifle.

Though I spotted many cameramen, men and women holding cameras some 35mm others medium format documenting this event-taking place. I remember viewing the images the following day in the newspapers.

The story unfolding actually impressed me; this was my perspective on this world. When I eventually left the UN forces, I came back to the UK however I worked for a company in the fashion industry and really didn’t give photojournalism much thought, I still took images now and again, but nothing worth reporting.

That was until I met an Australian guy named Sean he was adventurous and so upbeat it was hard not to like him! We became close often going on climbing trips on our days off, I took him to places like Brighton too.

It was fabulous and this reignited my love of photography once more, I took a couple of street shots, and met so many people. We decided to go back there and work for the summer. Sean showed me some places he had visited in his life, I was totally enthralled by these wonderful sights, and he had worked his way from Australia to the UK via Thailand and India.

The photographs were amazing and so too was the diverse culture I was viewing in the images. Though it was many years before I would go to the Asian continent I opted for the American continent instead, it was great and I could see many people photographing the sights, but this was not street photography.

I then witnessed the aftermath of 9/11 when I visited ground zero; I was almost overwhelmed with the scale of destruction that had taken place.

Seeing it on the television was almost like watching a Hollywood movie, it did not seem real but when I found the very battered remains of the Koenig Sphere in Battery Park in 2003, it all seemed so very obvious.

Having later travelled to Asia, and gaining the dizzying heights of the Annapurna region, of the Himalayas I came back knowing that I wanted to photograph not just for me but for others. I wanted to become a photojournalist.

 So just like in the spirit of Tim Hetherington, I want to make a difference the right way. The way of informing and educating people about what is truly happening in the world raising awareness of the very fact of war, famine and disease.

This may sound all a bit grim, however that is not what I want share, because they’re many stories out there that also come positive from these events. Tim was a great humanitarian a peoples champion and that is the way, we should remember him.


Here is the film am sure you will enjoy the kindness shown in the film by the photojournalist Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros who also lost his life believing in the principles of journalism.

I would like to thank the makers of the film, Tim Hertherington and Sebastian Junger their efforts are greatly respected in the making of this film.