Anorak | Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious: A Harsh Handbrake Turn – From How I Met You Mother To How Tim Hetherington Lost His Life

Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious: A Harsh Handbrake Turn – From How I Met You Mother To How Tim Hetherington Lost His Life

by | 4th, April 2014

Photojournalist Tim Hetherington, center, stands with other photographers outside the entrance to the hospital in Ajdabiya, Libya Sunday, April 10, 2011. Hetherington was killed in Misrata, Libya Wednesday, April 20, 2011 while covering battles between Libyan rebels and government forces. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis) Date: 10/04/2011


I’VE been thinking about bad endings this week; one in fiction and one, dreadfully, tragically real. Pulling together the finale of How I Met Your Mother, which used a by-no-means unexpected passing to tie up loose ends, and the real death of Tim Hetherington, the astounding documentary photographer whose life is the subject o f Which Way Is The Front Line From Here? , in one TV column may seem crass. It probably is. But that’s how TV works, mashing together different stories, shifting tone more awkwardly than a local radio DJ.

If you were engaged in idle channel surfing, Sebastian Junger’s film on the life and death of Hetherington, his friend and collaborator on the Academy Award-nominated Restrepo , would have pulled you up short. Named after a casual remark made by documentary photographer as he and a group of other journalists made their way into the Libyan town of Misrata, the film paints a picture of a man who had to document the world and its most dangerous stories even when he knew he should stop.

It during the same trip to Libya that Hetherington’s astounding reporting came to a devastating full stop. Just weeks after he and Junger had put on their tuxes at the Oscars, he was dead, killed in a mortar attack while accompanying Libyan rebels on the front line. In the remarkable Restrepo , Junger and Hetherington documented 14 months with American combat unit on the front lines. In Libya, his luck ran out.


 Director Sebastian Junger attends HBO Documentary Films' Which Way Is the Frontline From Here: The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington Los Angeles Premiere, on Thursday, April 4, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision for HBO/AP Images) Date: 05/04/2013


But while Hetherington spent much of his professional life in the noise and fury of conflict zones, Which Way…? is a quiet, reflective portrait of a man who clearly thought deeply about his role and responsibility. It is tightly focused on question: what is a photographer’s duty and when is it time to live you own life? It’s a spell-binding piece of work from the opening moments when a series of outtakes pricks the potential for pomposity as Hetherington swears and laughs as he attempts to articulate in words what he made so evident in images.

Unlike some of the conflict junkies in his profession. Hetherington was, based on the testimony of friends in the film and his own words, a more reflective documentarian. He first gained attention with incredible shots of children blinded by

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Posted: 4th, April 2014 | In: Key Posts, TV & Radio Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink