Photo Week 2012 – Liberty and Justice: A tribute to Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros

By Helena Williams

View event here.

On 20th April last year, accomplished journalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were tragically killed while covering the civil war in Libya.

In a fitting tribute, American literary magazine Alaska Quarterly Review has collated photographs from 68 of the world’s leading photographers to honour their fallen colleagues.

The project, Liberty and Justice (for All): A Global Photo Mosaic explores the ideas of liberty and justice through photography and personal narrative. Each contributor was asked to submit a photo which represents liberty and justice to them, along with 250 words explaining why.

“For me, it [the project] started when Chris and Tim were killed on April 20 last year,” said Benjamin Spatz, guest editor of the Alaska Quarterly Review.

“We tried to understand what they were about, what they tried to do. They were more than simple photographers.

Their pictures had staying power – the ability to unlock more than a headline, the ability to tap into something basic.

It was about the most basic human truths – liberty and justice.”

Spatz was joined by accomplished humanitarian photographer Giles Duley, who was severely injured while working in Afghanistan, for the Frontline Club event on the last night of Photo Week 2012.

“I was just coming out of intensive care when I heard of Tim and Chris dying,” said Duley. He had stepped on an improvised explosive device while covering Afghanistan in 2011, and lost both legs and an arm.

“I thought about how close I’d been [to dying] and the sacrifice they had made.

What was going through my head was how much it affects the people around you. You take everyone you love, and you upset them in a moment. I was wondering, was I there for the right reasons? Was it important enough to put so many people through pain and upset? You question why you’ve been doing that work for 10 years.

Was a photo worth losing your legs for? Was a photo worth losing their lives? I say of course no.

But I think the principle was. Seeing people without liberty and justice, and wanting to document that… I would do it again and again and again.

People don’t do it for the money, or any reason other than they believe in what they’re doing and they’re passionate about it.

The people I photograph are lacking in liberty and justice. I’m not much good at quotes, but I think it is James Nachtwey who said ‘it’s hard to see these things, but once you see them it’s hard to turn away from them.’ ”