David Alan Harvey on why only the good die young

When I looked at the last photos of Chris Hondros published yesterday on Lens I was genuinely shocked.

They were great photos but I couldn’t help wondering what motivation leads an individual to take such huge risks?

Then I thought of my friends who are photographers. Some of them great, but all of them, to a person, are better, are worth more, are loved more, wanted more and needed more then all of their pictures put together.

Tonight I would like to applaud David Alan Harvey for getting to the soul of what must be troubling so many people today but that no-one has yet so honestly said (please read the full post on BURN)

However, it is very difficult for me to defend right this minute the business of war photography. Tim is not the first friend I have lost like this. Richard Cross was the first, John Hoagland the second ,  and few  now can even remember their names at all nor  the war they died in or what it was about. Sure seemed important at the time.  Nicaragua, Contras. Anybody know about it? Even I who was there  have to really stop and remember all the details and the politics and the lies and the propaganda and the pure bullshit and a craving press  that led up to those guys feeling like it was their mission and their sense of making a difference to be there with their cameras. Met Nachtwey there and he survived that and many other conflicts and I have heard his speech of justification many times. I listen.

Same with Tim.  Tim Heatherington stopped by to talk to my students in the last loft class, he always came to talk to my students. He had a sense of mission as well. So yes, yes I know the peoples right to know and the documentation for the sake of the oppressed etc etc. I know the speech well. Yet, I also know the realities.  I will bounce back from this anti war photography mood  most likely, but this is how I feel right now. I know that conflicts must be covered, but the repetition of the realities year after year after year  just gets me in the gut.

It is just so so sad, tragic,  sickening that one of the few who really was trying to make a difference and one of the truly most honorable and creative  men I have ever met is gone.

Tim Heatherington, I love you bro. You did what you set out to do. Nobody can ever ask for more.

Author — duckrabbit

duckrabbit is a production company formed by radio producer/journalist Benjamin Chesterton and photographer David White. We specialize in digital storytelling.

Discussion (5 Comments)

  1. Part of me cannot believe that the industry is having is type of a conversation. But the other part of me is completely sold on the idea of getting everyone out. Tim and Chris were both great men and to say that their lives might even be considered to have been in vain in years to come would most certainty make me back the judgement against war coverage.

    ‘This war is like an actress who is getting old. It is less and less photogenic and more and more dangerous.’- R. Capa

    • duckrabbit says:

      Saira, pictures are important. War may remain the same but without the pictures, without the record what else might have happened. Memory is a form of resistance and photography play an important role. Sometimes, maybe the risks are too high. The price higher still.

  2. Well thats the tricky argument here. When I think about important photographs in our history and their role in our societies I realise that we simply cannot do without a documentation of historical events. But now the stakes have changed, journalists and photographers are pawns in war and targeted deliberately as political statements. The entire world has pushed Gaddaffi into a corner, this is how he asserts his power. War is no longer the same and all the world is to blame.

    • duckrabbit says:

      I don’t think there is a big change. Journalists have been arrested because they were working illegally. Any country would detain them.

      The photographers killed and injured were on the front line which unfortunately makes them at risk to shelling.

      This is civil war. It is VERY VERY dangerous. You cannot trust anyone. There will be a lot of atrocity.

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