Friday, January 14, 2011

Tim Hetherington's Photography

Wedding Parties at Centennial Pavilion ©Tim Hetherington

I've almost completely avoided mentioning Liberia's war and the imagery surrounding that. Although I think its extremely important for Liberian society to confront and address the painful, recent past, (and worry if that will ever adequately take place), I moreso grow weary of the war being the only way that Liberia is known outside its borders. One of the reasons I started Moved2Monrovia was to build a more positive and celebratory forum for all things Liberia.

Executive Mansion during the electrical fire ©Tim Hetherington

Having said that, a recent blog post in Lens, the photography blog of the New York Times, reminded me of the work of Tim Hetherington, who has been acclaimed for his documentary journalism in Liberia. I first came to know Tim's work for his part in the excellent film Liberia: An Uncivil War, where he and fellow journalist James Brabazon were the only reporters embedded with rebels as Monrovia was sieged. he has also been featured in the New York Times Lens before, among other prominent news platforms. His work in other war zones has been equally celebrated, not least his 2007 World Press Photo award for his shot of a weary American soldier in Afghanistan.

Broad Street & the Old Executive Grounds ©Tim Hetherington

Its interesting that Tim states his relative indifference to the medium of photography over any other format for relaying information to an audience, and I personally find it fascinating and refreshing to encounter a veteran of Liberia's most horrific chapters who can so masterfully rely so much of that strange and terrible period, but nonetheless was able to capture some of the romantic qualities that many unexpectedly find here, but which are so seldom communicated to the outside world, or are so easily overlooked among the more prevalent, more painful strains of that era's human plight.

©Tim Hetherington

Tim's photography evinces the chaos, confusion, and horror of a decade ago, and some this more wrenching work, such as his noted film montage Liberian Graffiti, will remain not only commendable as journalistic accomplishment, but also important parts of the documentary record of Liberian history.

Photographs in the post were included with permission, but all rights otherwise remain © Tim Hetherington

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