- Posted By: Bryan Chan
- Posted On: 1:22 p.m. | April 20, 2011
This is an updated post. See below for details.
Photojournalist Tim Hetherington and Getty Images photographer Chris Hondros were killed in Misurata, Libya, on Wednesday, according to a colleague working with them.
The men were on the front lines covering fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Moammar Kadafi when an explosion occurred. The blast was believed to have been caused by a mortar round, according to a Los Angeles Times report. The news was first reported by French photographer Andre Liohn, posting on Facebook while apparently at the hospital.
Hondros’ work appeared on the front page of Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times (pdf download). He was recently interviewed about his experiences in Egypt by the Chicago Tribune.
“It was quiet and we were trying to get away and then a mortar landed and we heard explosions,” Spanish photographer Guillermo Cervera told Reuters.
Also wounded in the attack was Michael Brown of the Corbis agency and Guy Martin of the Panos Pictures agency. They were treated for shrapnel wounds.
Hetherington sent a Twitter message Tuesday morning: “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.”
Along with co-director Sebatian Junger, Hetherington won the grand jury prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for their documentary, “Restrepo.” The film chronicled a U.S. Army platoon manning a remote outpost in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, where several soldiers were killed.
The New York-based Hondros has covered conflicts around the globe, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Kashmir, Liberia and the West Bank since the late 1990s. In 2004, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in spot news photography for his work in Liberia, and in 2006 he won the Robert Capa Gold Medal.
[Updated at 4:16 p.m.]
From Getty Images:
“The fiancée of Chris Hondros, the award-winning Getty Images photographer killed April 20 in an attack by government forces in Misrata, Libya, has announced the formation of The Chris Hondros Fund, which will encourage and assist aspiring photojournalists, aid photojournalists and other journalists in conflict zones and raise awareness of issues surrounding their work.”
More information here.
Hondros’ memorial service that was held this morning in Brooklyn was recorded.
[Updated at 3:40 p.m. An earlier version of this post was published before Hondros died. The headline and text have been changed accordingly.]
Getty Images has confirmed that Hondros has died of his injuries:
Getty Images is deeply saddened to confirm the death of Staff Photographer Chris Hondros who has died of injuries while covering events in Libya on April 20th. Chris never shied away from the front line having covered the world’s major conflicts throughout his distinguished career and his work in Libya was no exception. We are working to support his family and his fiancee as they receive this difficult news, and are preparing to bring Chris back to his family and friends in the United States. He will be sorely missed.
Times staff photographer Michael Robinson Chavez, who has worked overseas with Hondros, added:
Chris Hondros was more often than not the smartest photographer in the room. We would have great political debates and discussions about all kinds of topics, more often than not, about the war zone or country we were currently photographing. It is so important to know who the players are in any given crisis and whom you can trust. Chris always knew that and you could always trust in his judgment.
His sense of conviction and belief in a story was absolute and always well founded. I remember how livid he was that so many news organizations and photographers were no longer covering Iraq beginning in 2004. “There were U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians fighting and dying over there, how could we not cover it?” was a common refrain from Chris. And he was right.
I first met him in 2002 covering the Israeli incursions into the West Bank and Gaza. His intellect was only matched by his ability to make amazing photographs, smart photographs, in horrendous situations. Our paths crossed many many times: Iraq, Israel and Palestine on many occasions, the recent revolution in Egypt and the Georgia-Russia war in 2008. We worked closely together on that story. I still feel bad, Chris rented a car and I proceeded to trash it driving over horrible roads in an effort to hook up with a Russian military convoy.
I will miss Chris dearly. He is what I will aspire to be and work as: a smart photographer and journalist. Dedication and intellect are so important in what we do and Chris had both of those in abundance. You are a special messenger, Chris, and your eyes and spirit will be greatly missed.
Times staff photographer Rick Loomis said:
I’ve worked with Chris Hondros in the U.S. and overseas but always in places that no one else really wants to go but the most hard-core of photojournalists. He was driven to make the most compelling images in some of the world’s most chaotic places. He strove to make a difference, to make people feel what he was seeing. I think back to the images of the small, blood -soaked Iraqi child whose parents were killed by U.S. forces. Those moving images were widely published, forcing people to stop and see the horrors of war up close. That was one of countless situations that he got himself into that make up a moving body of work.
He was smart, had the gift of gab and could frequently be found pontificating on any given subject with authority. His quick wit and wry sense of humor often meant he was the center of attention when around other journalists in a social setting. And if you found yourself standing in his general proximity while on assignment, you knew you were probably in the right spot to make a picture. He and Tim Hetherington were sadly in the wrong spot today – a chance we all take pursuing stories in edgy situations. He died doing what compelled him and I will try to take solace in that fact.
The photojournalism community is in shock today as it has lost one of the greats. Working for a wire service, his images appeared in publications around the world. So though many viewers of his work maybe never knew him personally, they too will experience a loss.