April 20th, 2011
On Wednesday 20th April, word reached us that our friend, award-winning photographer and filmmaker Tim Hetherington, was killed in the Libyan uprising - the first British fatality in the conflict. Alongside him, US photographer Chris Hondros was also killed, and two other journalists, American Michael Christopher Brown and British citizen Guy Martin, were severely wounded; the four of them were in the city of Misrata covering the bitter fight for control over a bridge when they came under mortar fire from the regime.
We are deeply shocked and saddened beyond words by the death of Tim Hetherington with whom we had the pleasure of working last year on the release of his film Restrepo, which he made in partnership with fellow Vanity Fair journalist and friend Sebastian Junger. An account of a company of soldiers in Afghanistan, this astonishing piece of filmmaking won at Sundance in 2010 and went on to become Oscar-nominated. He also published a selection of stills from his time with the company in a book entitled Infidel.
A giant in his field, Tim was already a renowned and respected photojournalist who had won the World Press Photo award in 2007 and had already extensively covered many combat and conflict zones in Africa and the Middle East. He travelled the world's deadliest places to document and report on conflicts and atrocities, including acting as an investigator for the United Nations Security Council's Liberia Sanctions Committee. More than this, Tim was a humanitarian, who supported numerous causes and had spent time working on other stories such as landmine injuries and blind children.
Based in New York, Tim worked with us last year to promote the UK release of Restrepo. Whilst here, he was engaging, passionate and very modest. His enthusiasm for the film, and his affection and pride for his subjects - the soldiers with whom he had spent close to a year - were unquestionable. A true gentleman, it was our privilege to work with him to bring his film to his home audience. Tim’s legacy will forever be enshrined in his remarkable images and film, but those who had the pleasure of encountering him will remember him by something much more.
Tim aimed to highlight the plight of people so often ignored by the world and the mainstream media, and this tragic event sadly becomes his ultimate sacrifice in bringing attention to the horrors unfolding in Libya, the scale of which can no longer be overlooked.
Tim was recently quoted as saying "My main objective is to take audiences to a faraway place that they could never travel to without the help of an intrepid film-maker. This is the challenge that still excites me." The international outpouring of tribute from his colleagues, friends and fellow journalists is a testament to his great work and how he fulfilled this objective. Even more so, the reaction from people around the world touched by his work, or those who have only just heard of him through his death, is a lasting legacy to his life's achievements, proving that his accomplishments as a photojournalist and humanitarian have made a real and positive impact.
We will remember Tim as a great man: intelligent, full of integrity, gracious and very humble. A true inspiration to everyone who knew him. Our deepest thoughts go out to his friends and family.
Tim's parents will be setting up a charitable organisation to continue Tim's humanitarian work around the world, for more information and to leave your condolences please visit http://www.timhetherington.org/condolences/
Donations The following organisations meant a great deal to Tim. Donations in his memory should be directed to:
Milton Margai School for the Blind, Sierra Leone http://www.miltonmargaischool.org
Human Rights Watch http://www.hrw.org
Committee to Protect Journalists http://www.cpj.org