A Photojournalist Remembered

Originally published on May 23, 2012 11:58 am

Photojournalists Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington were killed by a mortar round in Misrata, Libya, on April 20. Fellow photographers Guy Martin and Michael Christopher Brown were also injured. Photojournalist Andrea Bruce shares her memories of Hondros.

People may not understand life in Iraq or Libya, but most know what its like to hurt. Or to lose someone they love. Crossing the language and cultural barriers of the world, photos point out the similarities of human nature. We have a visceral reaction when we see a little girl cry because her parents were shot in front of her. They are not just numbers or names. They are people. We want to reach inside the frame and help her.

This is what one of Chris Hondros' most unforgettable images from Iraq did for us. It shows a reality that was often reported, but rarely seen.

Chris understood the power of photography as much as most governments do. The first thing banned in countries of conflict, the first thing targeted, are cameras. But Chris had an unflinching desire to tell the truth and an uncompromising need make people see the problems of the world.

He always remained strong. Unapologetic.

He went to great lengths to provide anyone who asked with all the advice needed to do this job safely and intelligently. Or, make you a mixed CD of classical music when you were down. Or, take the time to write you a two-page, well-researched email if he disagreed with you.

Chris was the glue of our photojournalism community — a community that has had a rough year. Many colleagues have been injured, kidnapped and killed. The void left by his, and Tim's, death will not only be a blow to news organizations and all of us who knew and admired them, but also to the people who live in Misrata — who are also being killed — with few people left to give them a voice.

Without Chris, Tim, and other photojournalists like them, the truth about the horrors of war can easily be hidden. Dismissed. Accepted.

Andrea Bruce is a freelance photojournalist based in Afghanistan and Mexico who focuses on war and its aftermath. She has worked primarily in the Middle East and Asia for the past 10 years and is represented by the VII Network.

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