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Tim Hetherington, photo journalist, "devilishly good-looking and impossibly brave"

Tim Hetherington, the British photojournalist, who was killed with his colleague Chris Hondros in a mortar blast in Misurata, Libya, on April 20 aged 40, specialised in bringing the viewer close to the terrible truths of battle; last year he won an Oscar nomination for best documentary for the Afghanistan war film Restrepo.

Through still photographs, films, videos and internet downloads, Hetherington, who did much work with Human Rights Watch, sought to bridge the gap between the chaos of conflict regions around the world and the comfortable living rooms of his Western audience. As he covered wars in Liberia, Afghanistan, Darfur, Chad and Sri Lanka as well as Libya, his photography was characterised by a remarkable human sensitivity and an eye for the beautiful and strange.

. . .In the Second Liberian Civil War, he and his colleague James Brabazon were the only foreign journalists to live behind rebel lines, as a result of which they earned an execution order from the country’s then president, Charles Taylor. The film that Hetherington co-directed, Liberia: An Uncivil War (2004), and his book, Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold, helped to bring the conflict to world attention by allowing individuals to tell their own stories in their own words.

He later worked on the 2007 documentary The Devil Came on Horseback, about the genocide in Darfur, after documenting killings on the Darfur-Chad border in 2006 for Human Rights Watch.

He had fortitude.

. . . "During his shooting for the Nightline specials he very seriously broke his leg on a night march out of a very isolated forward operating base that was under attack.

“He had the strength and character to walk for four hours through the night on his shattered ankle without complaint and under fire, enabling that whole team to reach safety.”

He told the timeless story of war until war finished his story.

Ave atque Vale.

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