Visions: Tim Hetherington’s Theater of War

Visions: Tim Hetherington’s Theater of War

Visions: Images of Libya from a Fallen Photographer

Last week, an upcoming gallery show of work by the late photographer Tim Hetherington was announced, the inaugural exhibition of The Bronx Documentary Center that was founded earlier this year. The exhibition, titled Visions, is a collection of never-before-seen photos by Hetherington, a British-American photographer who lived in Brooklyn. He was a longtime Vanity Fair contributor who died in April while covering the conflict in Libya, along with fellow conflict photographer and Brooklyn resident Chris Hondros.

It is amazingly ironic that the announcement of the exhibition of Tim Hetherington’s work coincided precisely with published reports that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the erratic, provocative dictator who ruled Libya for 42 years, had finally met a violent and vengeful death in the hands of the Libyan forces that drove him from power.

Hetherington was most famous for his Academy Award-nominated 2010 documentary Restrepo, which he filmed with Sebastian Junger in 2007. The film follows the Army platoon assigned to what was then the most dangerous posting in Afghanistan, The Korengal Valley, to clear it of insurgents and gain the trust of the local populace. In the course of the film, the platoon builds a new outpost they name after Juan Sebastian Restrepo, a comrade who was killed during the early days of the 15-month assignment.

On April 20, Hetherington was trailing rebels in the besieged coastal city of Misurata in Libya, when he and Hondros were killed in an explosion from a rocket-propelled grenade. He left behind 40 rolls of undeveloped 220mm film. The negatives revealed a fascinating mix of what Tim called “the theater of war,” men strutting with their guns, as well as landscapes, graffiti, and men firing guns and rocket-propelled grenades in battle. And a vase of plastic flowers in a bullet-marked room. Seventeen of the prints will be on display in the Bronx Documentary Center show as 36- by 30-inch prints hanging from the ceiling on two large wood panels, beginning October 22nd.

Tim Hetherington: Always a Few Steps Ahead

Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold

Award-Winning Photographer and Film Director Tim Hetherington Killed in Libya

The Death of Award-Winning Photographer Tim Hetherington

Oscar-nominated documentary-maker Tim Hetherington, co-creator of the Sundance-winning documentary Restrepo, was killed in the besieged city of Misurata covering fighting between Muammar Gaddafi’s forces and the opposition. A British citizen who lived in New York, Hetherington had covered conflicts with sensitivity in Liberia, Afghanistan, Darfur and, in recent weeks, Libya. Hetherington was in Libya to continue his multimedia project highlighting humanitarian issues during times of war and conflict.

Photo-journalist Chris Hondros, a US Pulitzer finalist who worked for Getty Images, was also killed. Hetherington and Hondros were among eight to 10 journalists reporting from Tripoli Street in Misrata. When shooting broke out, they took shelter against a wall, which was hit by fire. Hetherington died soon after arriving at hospital. Hetherington wrote in his last post on Twitter on Tuesday: “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Gaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.”

Restrepo won the 2010 Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at Sundance, and was a 2011 Oscar Nominee for Best Documentary, Features. The movie is a stunning chronicle of one U.S. platoon, which was posted in one of the most dangerous valleys in Afghanistan. The film was made as part of Hetherington’s ongoing mission to bring the hardships of war into the public eye.

Diary is one of Hetherington’s most recent works, a documentary short film that presents a dreamlike composition of insightful juxtapositions about his war experiences, composed of carefully conceived montages and almost inchoate sounds. It is similar in spirit to his impressionistic documentary short Sleeping Soldiers of 2009.

Viewers can read more about Tim Hetherington in The New York Times here.

Restropo: 2011 Nominated Oscar Best Documentary, Features (Trailer)

Tim Hetherington’s Disquieting ‘Diary

Tim Hetherington: Sleeping Soldiers

Photo-Gallery: Visions/Tim Hetherington’s Theater of War

(Please Click Image to View Photo-Gallery)

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Explicit Photographs Released of American Soldiers Murdering Afghan Civilians

Explicit Photographs Released of American Soldiers Murdering Afghan Civilians

Shocking photographs were released this week of American soldiers murdering Afghan civilians. Three photographs, published by the German magazine Der Spiegel in its March 20th print edition, show members of the self-designated “Kill Team” comprised of United States Army soldiers who are accused of making a sport of killing innocent Afghans, as they show off one of their victims in a kind of trophy photo; another photograph shows two Afghan civilians who appear to be dead. The Army had tried to keep the photos from going public, especially since anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan is already high.

Five of the soldiers involved in the killings are now facing court martial proceedings for the deaths of three, unarmed Afghan civilians. Seven other members of their unit are accused of lesser crimes. The men are accused of faking combat situations to justify killing randomly chosen Afghans with grenades and guns. The case came to light after one of the soldiers informed military investigators about the killings; he was then beaten so severely by other members of the unit for betraying them that he had to be hospitalized.

The photographs are reminiscent of the torture and humiliation suffered by Iraqis at the hands of American troops in the Abu Ghraib prison, which came to light in the spring of 2004. However, there were dozens of those pictures and they clearly showed the victims’ faces, making their pain all the more apparent. That case reverberated across the Muslim world in ways that this case has yet to do, in part because of the absence of photographs. The release of these images threatens to change that.

Read more about these atrocities in the New York Times here.

Update:

Rolling Stone has just released a special report on the U.S. Army’s self-proclaimed “kill team,” whose members are currently on trial for murdering Afghan civilians. The report includes new photographs and videos from the cache that was partially leaked to Der Spiegel last week.

“Kill Team” Soldiers Tell of Civilian Murders and Cover-Ups

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An Angry Obama Relieves Runaway General McChrystal of Command

An Angry Obama Relieves Runaway General McChrystal of Command

An angry President Obama removed Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal from his position as Commander of American forces in Afghanistan on Wednesday, and named as his replacement the architect of the 2007 surge in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus.  President Obama said he had done so because an article in Rolling Stone featured contemptuous quotes from the general and his staff about senior administration officials, threatening to erode trust among administration and military officials, as well as to undermine civilian control of the military.

War is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general or president,” President Obama said.  “As difficult as it is to lose General McChrystal, I believe it is the right decision for our national security.”  “I welcome debate among my team,” he said, “but I won’t tolerate division.”

President Obama Relieves General Stanley McChrystal of Command

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The Runaway General: Gen. McChrystal Summoned to Washington Over Remarks

The Runaway General: Gen. McChrystal Summoned to Washington Over Remarks

President Obama’s top commander in Afghanistan was flown to Washington on Tuesday to find out whether he will be fired, after an article in Rolling Stone quoted him and his staff members speaking critically of top members of President Obama’s team.

With the war effort faltering, the comments by General Stanley McChrystal illustrated the disarray and spitefulness that exists among the Afghanistan team, as well as the tensions between the president and the military.  In the magazine article, General McChrystal or his aides spoke derisively of Vice President Biden, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, National Security Adviser General James L. Jones, Richard C. Holbrooke, the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and even President Obama himself.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs refused to say outright whether General McChrystal would lose his position.  Gibbs questioned the general’s judgment, calling the comments an “enormous mistake,” adding that military parents need to know that “the structure where they’re sending their children is one that is capable and mature enough in prosecuting a war as important as Afghanistan.”

Gen. Stanley McChrystal Summoned to Washington Over Remarks

White House Calls Back General McChrystal

President Obama Comments on  General McChrystal

Read the full article The Runaway General in Rolling Stone here.

Read more about reactions to General McChrystal’s remarks in The New York Times here.

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