Image courtesy of Getty Images.
27 Apr 2011
Remembering Chris Hondros
Today, photojournalists, photo editors, Getty Images colleagues will join Chris Hondros friends and family to remember a great photojournalist who died, too young, last week.
I joined British Journal of Photography in late January 2008. My experience of the photographic world was minimal at that time, but in the decade preceeding I had developed a strong interest for photojournalism. So, when I was asked to write a feature article on the five-anniversary of the Iraq war, I didn't hesitate.
When I contacted Getty Images, I was told that Chris Hondros was "the longest-serving staffer we have had in Iraq - he has been embedded over 11 times there in the last 5 years and can give a great perspective on what it has been like to cover the war from the beginning through to recent months."
A few days later, I was on the phone with Chris. I still remember our conversation - probably because it was the first time I spoke with someone I truly admired. Chris took the time to answer all the questions I had about his work in Iraq - how he covered the conflict, how it had evolved over the years. But, what really stuck with me was his answer to the question: "What images have defined the Iraq war?"
"The dominant imagery of this war is still being decided," he answered. "Is it the picture of a little girl at an accidental checkpoint in 2005 or the close-up of a 'Malboro Marine', his face covered in dust? Or is it the Abu Ghraib pictures, which were taken by the soldiers themselves? It's too soon to know. And is it relevant? Are people less tuned in to the power of photography then they used to be? And how does this tie to the photographic history of the country?"
I can't say that I knew Chris - we spoke a handful of times over the past three years - but his answer has defined how I've looked at photojournalism in these three years and still resonates with me.
As family members, friends and colleagues remember Chris Hondros today in New York, I wish I could join them to pay my respects and thank Chris for his words.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to The Chris Hondros Fund, which will provide scholarships for aspiring photojournalists and raise awareness of issues surrounding conflict photography.
The Chris Hondros Fund,
c/o Getty Images,
75 Varick St., 5th Floor,
New York, NY 10013
TAL AFAR, IRAQ - JANUARY 18: Samar Hassan, 5, screams after her parents were killed by U.S. Soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division in a shooting January 18, 2005 in Tal Afar, Iraq © Chris Hondros / Getty Images.
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - JULY 20: Joseph Duo, a Liberian militia commander loyal to the government, exults after firing a rocket-propelled grenade at rebel forces at a key strategic bridge July 20, 2003 in Monrovia, Liberia © Chris Hondros / Getty Images.
BAGHDAD, IRAQ - MAY 16: In the orange fog of an Iraqi sandstorm, US troops of the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division carry a wounded Iraqi man who started running from their platoon during a routine morning patrol and was shot May 16, 2008 in Baghdad, Iraq © Chris Hondros / Getty Images.
MISRATA, LIBYA - APRIL 20: Libyan rebel fighters carry out a comrade wounded during an effort to dislodge some ensconced government loyalist troops who were firing on them from a building (background) during house-to-house fighting on Tripoli Street in downtown Misrata April 20, 2011 in Misrata, Libya © Chris Hondros / Getty Images.
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