2 Great photographers lost today in Libya – doing what they loved to do.

Today the lives of two friends and photojournalist colleagues, Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington,  were lost.   Photographers Guy Martin and Michael Christopher Brown were  injured as the 4 were covering the fighting in  Misurita, Libya.  It’s important to note that Chris and Tim were two of the best in the business – icons of our generation (my generation.)  They were both incredibly accomplished and recognized journalists – their work received almost every honor and award that exists today for both stills and motion:  from Pulitzer nominations, to World Press Awards, Picture of the Years Internationals, Robert Capa Gold Medal, Pew Felloships, Rory Peck Award, Alfred I. DuPont award and even an Academy Award nomination.

Many of us grew up hearing of Robert Capa and other famous war photographers.  Many of us idolized them.   The first time I had an AK-47 pointed at me,  I immediately knew that I wasn’t cut out for the incredibly dangerous work msyelf.   Therefore I’ve always admired those who go out every day to cover conflict across the world – their work is incredibly necessary.    Without their photographs,  far fewer of us would be aware of what goes on in war torn regions.  Few if any would see the atrocities being committed.

A few weeks ago, Linsey Addario, Tyler Hicks (two close friends) and two other NYTimes colleagues disappeared for what seemed an eternity in Libya – but were eventually released.  That was a hard enough period to deal with this year – it happened immediately after the Tsunamis hit Japan.

©Getty Images

Chris Hondros was a good friend.   I grew up along side him in the Photojournalism ranks.  It’s particularly difficult when something like this happens to a friend you know well.   Someone who’s career you witnessed bloom – one step at a time, year by year.  Chris was a modern day Capa – his work was unparalleled.   Incredibly difficult for me to say much more right now n other than he made a tremendous contribution to the world of photojournalism throughout his career.

Here is some of Chris’s work on the NYTimes Lens blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

©Getty Images

I only got to know Tim Hetherington very briefly.  But he definitely made an impression on me in the short time we spent together.    His film Restrepo was an incredible piece of work – as were his photographs.   I admire his ability to document the conflicts he covered both with a still camera and a video camera – to the highest level.  You can honor him by watching the film on Netflix, DVD or Bluray to learn more about him and what he documented.  His film (co-directed by Sebastian Junger) was nomiated for an Oscar this year.

Both of these men won a number of the most prestigious awards in the industry – notably from the World Press Photo Foundation arguably the most prestigious awards for conflict photographers.

Here is some of Tim’s works on the NYTimes Lens blog.

I will miss them very much and I wish Guy and Michael a good recovery and safe journey home.

I can say that both men died doing what they loved most.

As much as I want to tell all of my friends and colleagues to leave that place in the world – I respect and admire what they do.  I understand their need to be there to document history.