Tribute: Tim Hetherington and His Photos of Liberia

There is a photography exhibition opening on October 26th at the Bronx Documentary Center.  It is a showing of photographs by Tim Hetherington who lived in Liberia at the same time I did. He was embedded with the LURD soldiers during the war and then after the conflict he chose to live in Liberia.

I didn’t know Tim well but had met him on the odd occasion. He was already getting ready to chase his next wars by the time I was settling in to life in Liberia in 2007. I was only there for about two and a half years but during that time, I met several amazing people and Tim was one.  He had been living in Liberia for a number of years by the time I got there and it was clear he was very committed to the people there and had a deep respect for many of them.

liberia book

In 2009, he published his book of photography. I left Liberia in 2009 and about 4 months after, a good friend and collegue from my days there sent me his book, “Long Story Bit by Bit, Liberia Retold“.  I hadn’t picked it up in almost 10 years and it feels more like 100. However, the volume has had a very prominent place on our bookshelves for all of that time.
With the exhibition coming up, I pulled the book off the shelf, dusted it off and flipped through. Seeing the photos reminded me of a time and place where I grew to know what losing democracy looks like and that something was deeply wrong with our profit driven system. I learned the truth about what matters which is community as well as a respect for human beings and the environment. I have seen the aftermath of what happens if we don’t value those things. However, I have also seen the great hope, courage and light that comes through even the darkest nights. Tim captured all this in his photos as well.
This morning, as look at Tim’s photos again after another 10 years of life experience, I see that these photos serve as a warning. He chased and documented truth of what was happening in Liberia and spent an incredible amount of time trying to understand it. For in this way, his work has so much meaning.
Tim was killed in Libya a few years later covering the truth there.

Opening reception:

October 26th at 6pm (RSVP). Remarks by Amina J. Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General.

On View:
Oct 26 – Dec 16, 2018

BDC St Mary’s, 364 E. 151st Street, Bronx (across the street from the BDC).

Categories: Events, Inspiring People

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