Travel Journals and Tim Hetherington

Last week, I went to the Aperture Gallery to catch the last day of a small installation of Tim Hetherington‘s work.  On display was Diary, an experimental 19 minute film that was a memoir of his life as a war photographer/documentary film maker — a life which ended this past April, on the job in Libya. There was also Sleeping Soldiers, which was filmed at the same time as Restrepo.

You can see both films online here; Sleeping Soldiers was displayed on three screen at the gallery and it’s not quite the same for home viewing, but Diary loses none of its power displayed n the computer.

I’m not a war photographer, or a war journalist, obviously. While I have visited many troubled countries (and name me one country that’s trouble-free), I don’t tend to find myself in places that feature open gun fire. I tend to travel to places where people like to vacation. So I really didn’t really want to feel a tug of identification with the dislocation that Hetherington captures in Diary — the strange juxtaposition of life at home and life in places far less comfortable — frankly, I don’t think I’ve earned it. At the time that Hetherington was gathering his footage, I was mostly traveling in the world’s prettier, peaceful places.

In fact, it is hard to believe that we were traveling on the same planet, at the same time.

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