RIP, Tim Hetherington

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Diary (2010) from Tim Hetherington on Vimeo.

Tim Hetherington, conflict photographer and Academy Award nominee for last year's Restrepo, was killed while on assignment in Libya yesterday, along with Chris Hondros, a photographer with Getty Images.

The New York Times photo blog, Lens, has an amazing retrospective of some of Hetherington's work:

To call Tim Hetherington a great photographer would be a mistake. That’s not how he saw it.

“If you are interested in mass communication, then you have to stop thinking of yourself as a photographer,” he told Michael Kamber in a revealing interview last year, as his documentary film “Restrepo” was about to open. “We live in a post-photographic world. If you are interested in photography, then you are interested in something — in terms of mass communication — that is past. I am interested in reaching as many people as possible.”

Mr. Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed Wednesday in the besieged city of Misurata, Libya. Two other photographers working beside them — Guy Martin and Michael Christopher Brown — were injured.

While no career can be fairly assessed within hours of its end, there’s no question that Mr. Hetherington reached an enormous audience. He was a Vanity Fair staff member, a news photographer, a videographer, a documentary filmmaker (director, producer, cameraman), an artist, a writer and an author — among other occupations, including a turn as an investigator for the United Nations Security Council’s Liberia Sanctions Committee. Lydia Polgreen, who met Mr. Hetherington in 2005 when she was starting out as West Africa correspondent for The New York Times, said, “He was one of those rare photographers who was as much a reporter as any writer I knew.”

Yet his colleagues and friends could not help themselves on Wednesday from saying — first and foremost — that Mr. Hetherington was a great photographer.

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