IMPORTANT NOTE

Stellazine has moved to stellakramer.com/category/stellazine



Monday, April 16, 2012

Tim Hetherington at Yossi Milo


Tim Hetherington
Untitled, Liberia, 2003 Digital C-print
(c) Tim Hetherington, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

It is almost exactly a year since Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed in Misrata, Libya. The passage of time is always somewhat of a surprise, even as we are powerless to affect it. The first exhibit of Tim’s work at Yossi Milo has just opened, and it was definitely the place to be last week.

The show is divided into work from Liberia (in the front room) and Afghanistan in the back. The work is large, the prints sharp, and the overwhelming sense is of a photographer just reaching his stride. “When someone dies, they die midsentence,” said his mother, Judith. That is so evident when you look at Tim's work, and I don't mean just his photos, but his films as well. Both Restrepo and Sleeping Soldiers bring war and the men who fight it to us in a way that is so personal, so without pretense, that we are brought closer to the humanity we might have forgotten.

The Liberia work as shown doesn’t have the cohesion that the Afghanistan work has. There are some marvelous images, but it seems more unfocused. This is more due to the image choices, then the work itself. The selection of images are only linked by location, and so as wonderful as they are, their impact is lessened. We don't know why Tim was there, or what he covered. For those who don't know about the country and Tim's experience there it is hard to see a thread running through this part of the exhibit..

Tim Hetherington
Untitled, Liberia, 2005 Digital C-print
(c) Tim Hetherington, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

Tim Hetherington
Untitled, Liberia, 2004 Digital C-print
(c) Tim Hetherington, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

But it is obvious that in Afghanistan Tim found himself. His desire to get to the core of the men and the war is so evident, and the photos so alive, you can imagine Tim there taking the photos. There is such a tenderness in those photos, not just because they capture these young men at their most vulnerable, but because you can feel Tim’s heart. That’s how strongly the experience is imprinted.

Tim Hetherington
Untitled, Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, 2008 Digital C-print (c) Tim Hetherington, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

Walking into the back room where the Afghanistan photos are I am stopped by the shocking intimacy of the Restrepo work, especially the sleeping soldiers. As I look at the photo of the men fooling around I can still see Tim—imagine him there. That’s how strongly the experience is imprinted.

Tim Hetherington
Alcantara, Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, 2008 Digital C-print (c) Tim Hetherington, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

Tim Hetherington
Kelso, Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, 2008 Digital C-print (c) Tim Hetherington, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

Hung as though we are looking at men in childhood bunk beds, the impact of the work is heightened. I am once again struck by how young they all seem, and by how close they are to each other. There is a physical intimacy between the soldiers that you don't usually see in photos. But that is part of Tim's gift: his ability to become one with his subjects, and so they let him into their world. Tim held the door opened and allowed us to enter a world we are not a part of. That was one of Tim's gifts.

Like all artists, Tim Hetherington's work outlives him. For that I am grateful, but the loss is even more keen because of the unique way in which he viewed the world, and because of his fierce desire to peel back the obvious to show us the base from which the actions and emotions sprang.

I miss Tim Hetherington for who he was and for the promise of what was still to come.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

del.icio.us Digg it Facebook MySpace Slashdot Technorati Stumbleupon Twitter

3 Comments:

Anonymous Jon Eland said...

I got and read a signed copy of Infidels in the couple of weeks before he died. It was the first PhotoBook that I read cover to cover absorbing every word and pausing over every image, and the first the both made me smile, laugh out loud and cry. Thank you for allowing me to share in this, an exhibition I'll be unable to attend. For oh so many reasons seeing those photos brought another lump to my throat.

April 17, 2012  
Anonymous Ed Hamlin said...

Thank you Stella for the narrative. It is hard to believe that it has been a year. It has been a year since I had my life changing event, yet it was not like reading the headline of Tim's passing. Thank you for bringing part of the exhibit to my part of the world.

Ed

April 17, 2012  
Blogger I2k4 said...

FYI, Some billboards of his sleeping soldiers are part of the Toronto Contact festival this year:

http://scotiabankcontactphoto.com/public-installations/979

Was nice to find your blog googling him.

April 28, 2012  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home