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Libya blast kills photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros

'Restrepo' co-director Tim Hetherington and Getty photographer Chris Hondros are hit by a mortar strike in Misurata, Libya.

April 21, 2011|By Ned Parker and Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times

David Courier, a programmer for the Sundance Film Festival who chose "Restrepo" to open last year's event, said the movie gave "the experience of what it's like to be at war." He described Hetherington as "a really humble guy. … Grace is a really good word to describe Tim Hetherington. There was humility and none of that false humility which can sometimes permeate the entertainment industry."

In a statement, the Hetherington family said, "Tim was in Libya to continue his ongoing multimedia project to highlight humanitarian issues during time of war and conflict. He will be forever missed."

In an interview in November with the PBS's "NewsHour," Hetherington discussed the challenges of reporting on war in "Restrepo."

"It's a very slippery thing to try to get out any truisms about war," he said.

"You know, war is hell, but it's more than that. And rather than lay down any kind of definitiveness, I just wanted to, to show the texture of it.

"And that meant not just photographing just the combat, but, as you say, the guys, their time off, when war is often very boring. And it's boredom punctuated by sheer terror.

"And I wanted to capture all of that."

Hondros, who has covered conflicts in Iraq and elsewhere, was perhaps best known for a series of images he made of shrieking, blood-splattered Iraqi children whose parents had been shot to death by a U.S. Army patrol, reportedly by mistake.

Los Angeles Times photographer Michael Robinson Chavez, who worked overseas with Hondros, said he "was more often than not the smartest photographer in the room. … His intellect was only matched by his ability to make amazing photographs, smart photographs, in horrendous situations."

Hondros was engaged to be married in August.

Rick Loomis, a Los Angeles Times photographer who had known Hondros for a decade and worked alongside him on several occasions, most recently covering the uprisings in Egypt, described him as "one of the best war photographers of this generation."

"His images made you stop and made you think about what you were witnessing with him," Loomis said.

Parker reported from Misurata and Johnson from Los Angeles. Times staff writer Nicole Sperling in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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