by Matt Paley
Tim Hetherington died yesterday, killed by mortar fire in Misrata, where Libyan rebels are clashing with Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces. Hetherington was traveling with Chris Hondros, Guy Martin, and Michael Christopher Brown (photojournalists all) at the time of the attack. All four photographers were wounded; Hetherington died first, and Hondros soon after. At the time of my writing, Martin is reported to be alive, in very serious condition; Brown is wounded but stable.
Hetherington was best known for Restrepo (2010), an intimate, lyrical, harrowingly visceral experience of war, which he co-directed with his longtime collaborator Sebastian Junger. Restrepo is a beautiful film; it’s also a film I’ll be unable to watch again.
I point, instead, to Diary, Hetherington’s last film work, which he uploaded to vimeo only three months ago. A dream-like meditation on the disparate worlds Hetherington moved between and his struggle to unite them, Diary appears now as an affirmation of all that Hetherington lived, and lived for. I won’t say any more about the work – I feel uncomfortable doing so, tonight – except to ask you to watch it.
From Hetherington’s vimeo page:
‘Diary’ is a highly personal and experimental film that expresses the subjective experience of my work, and was made as an attempt to locate myself after ten years of reporting. It’s a kaleidoscope of images that link our western reality to the seemingly distant worlds we see in the media.
Camera + Directed by Tim Hetherington
Edit + Sound design by Magali Charrier
19′ 08 / 2010
May we possess, as Tim did, the courage to live life in extremes, eschewing comfort for that which drives us; the dedication to push ourselves and our mediums to the very limits; and the strength to document with compassion, reserving judgement. Rest in peace.
The Men Who Stare at Goats, dir. Grant Heslov (2009)
The opening credits of The Men Who Stare at Goats roll beside footage of the War in Iraq set to an infectious pop song. The film never really gets beyond this sequence, which encapsulates the film perfectly: what seems sketched out to be political content—pixilated war footage, pop music—comes out as stifled, unfunny, and vacuous. It becomes apparent that the film is attempting to pull the wool over our eyes. But to what? (more…)