Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chris Hondros (1970-2011)

The world lost two of its most courageous photojournalists yesterday. Tim Hetherington -- who directed Restrepo -- and Chris Hondros were killed by a rocket propelled grenade while covering the fighting in Misrata, Libya.

Hondros was a Pew Fellow in International Journalism a couple of years after I was, and we were briefly introduced at a 2007 reunion conference of sorts. There, he was on a panel about covering the Iraq war and, as program director John Schidlovsky noted today, talked about his work there with striking humility. I remember thinking the world was fortunate to have such people documenting what was happening in its most troubled corners.

If you don't know his name, you've probably seen the images he captured, often at considerable personal risk. There was this famous sequence from Iraq. And perhaps the most iconic image from the Liberian conflict (right). And all of these from conflict zones around the world. And the final set he uploaded from Misrata yesterday, literally from the midst of the fighting.

There aren't a lot of people who - like Hondros and Hetherington - have the courage, skill, and constitution for this kind of genuinely truth-telling work. The rest of us are impoverished by their passing.

[Update, 4/23/2011: On Hondros and his last days in Libya, from his best friend.]

Getty Images


  1. This is ridiculous this shows that now the situation in Libya i think these incidents will continue until Libyan government fell down international community should think on Libya how to solve this problem and surrounding countries of Libya have to try to solve this problem mainly the government immediately resign and put elections.

  2. My son worked with Chris in both Fallujah and Tal Afar during the height of the Iraq insurgency. I remember the searing photos that Chris captured that accompanied stories my son wrote for US News& WR, where he worked at the time.

    Although Chris seemed fearless in his desire to capture the raw emotions that combat-related photos revealed, both the NYT and the WSJ had interesting quotes from Chris, in which he said that he could always sense when the situation was too dangerous for him to stay. Unfortunately, in the savagery of Libya this did not prove possible.