Having survived many dangerous photographic missions in his life, as well as repeated trips to the lethal Restrepo outpost in Afghanistan--now abandoned by U.S. military--where he shot Oscar-nominated doc Restrepo with co-director Sebastian Junger, British photojournalist and Vanity contributor Tim Hetherington, 41, has died during fighting in Misrata between Muammar Gaddafi's soldiers and Libyan rebels, along with photographer Chris Hondros.
Photographer Andre Liohn wrote from Misrata on his Facebook page:
Sad news Tim Hetherington died in Misrata now when covering the front line. Chris Hondros is in a serious status. Michel Brown and Guy are wounded but fine.
He later writes that this news is confirmed, that he is "at the hospital now." The BBC then confirmed that "one western journalist has been killed and three injured a mortar attack" during heavy fighting in Misrata. UPDATE: Sadly, Vanity Fair confirms his death. Here's the NYT report.
@TimHetherington's last tweet read:
"In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO."
In our Sundance interview (below), he told me:
"I can count on a single hand times where I'm in a situation where I think I'm gonna be killed, and gone much further -- not just killed like, 'Aw, I could've been shot,' but really a situation where you think like, this is it. I've gone too far now. My family's going to be so angry with me, they're going to be so upset. What have I done?"
My condolences go to Hetherington's friends, family, colleagues, and to Junger.
I am so sad to hear this. Hetherington was one of those rare people you meet who are not only admirably heroic, but good to the bone. He was handsome, alive, charming, sharp, and dedicated to his work, which involved putting himself in the front lines of danger. My flip cam interview (below) with him and Junger is among my favorites. Vanity Fair provides links to some of his portfolios and articles.
Restrepo, which is currently available for Netflix streaming, doesn't resemble your standard documentary, in any way. It's not like other embedded war docs, or voice-over narration films, or movies with a strong personality or clear narrative spine. It's another animal. This film dogs you emotionally, messes up your tear ducts. Strapping, manly men, Hetherington and Junger (The Perfect Storm) held their own with U.S. soldiers in the toughest mountain terrain. Even they got weepy talking about the movie. What's the source of its power? The film takes us closer to seeing what men at war go through, what they suffer and lose, and especially in Afghanistan, the futility of it all.
Here's Hetherington's Diary 2010 on vimeo (hat tip: @CinemaEyeHonors):
Sundance 2010 Restrepo interview Part One: