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May 3, 2011 12:18 pm

My Few Minutes with Tim Hetherington

avatar by Ron Agam

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Tim Hetherington. Photo: Stephen Kolsoff

Yesterday I was going through a pile of business cards that I had collected trough the last few months in order to use them for inviting people to my next opening in May 5. Nothing exceptional–till I hit a specific card. It was a card that Tim Hetherington had given me sometime in October.
I had met him during a private screening for his movie “Restrepo.” Patricia Duff , the founder and soul of “The Common Good” (www.thecommongood.net), had invited him and Sebastian Junger to discuss the movie that they directed and produced. It was an animated questions and answers forum with really fascinating questions, a hallmark of The Common Good. It was one of those evenings that you will never forget, sitting in the darkness of a movie hall. You were suddenly projected into the life of an American platoon in the world’s most dangerous and beautiful landscape somewhere in Afghanistan in the midst of Taliban land. This documentary was breathing life and death as if it was your daily environment, urban citizens of the world.

For over an hour I thought I was with them the platoon in Afghanistan, living with them, in defense of democracy, thousands of miles away. These young, brave American soldiers, with a unique temper and a soul, that sometimes will make you cry as you confront follow their mission somewhere in a place called hell: the Korengal Valley, also know as “The Valley of Death.”

So, in looking at his card, I was reminded of the few minutes we had conversed on Afghanistan and its future. It was so informative. He was a kind and humble man and you could sense his passion. I assume he must be  a fun guy to have as a friend. Knowing he was living here in Williamsburg near my own studio, I had intended to sent him an invitation. Unfortunately, the horrible news of his death in Libya this week are a reminder that courage of a photo journalist sometimes also ends in a tragic way.

For me this encounter was now another symbol of why in the world there are people like Tim–and then the rest of us.

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