Thursday, April 21, 2011

On a Life Well Lived: Thoughts on the Death of Tim Hetherington

It was on Tuesday when I was reading an article in GQ (written by Howie Kahn) about the effort to demolish abandoned homes in Detroit.  The haunting images from that article were taken by Tim Hetherington.  I became familiar with Hetherington because of his collaboration with Sebastian Junger on the documentary "Restrepo."  It's a film I'd been planning to watch, though I never managed to find the time to do it.  So, when I saw Hetherington's picture in the May 2011 GQ, I was reminded that I needed to get my hands on that film.

Needless to say, I was shocked and saddened to learn that Hetherington died in a mortar attack in Misrata, Libya yesterday (along with another photojournalist, Chris Hondros).  And I don't really understand why hearing that news affected me.  Perhaps it's because that even in the face of real danger (Hetherington has been in many, many dangerous places to bring images to the rest of us), Hetherington was doing something that he loved, following his passion (GQ has a nice obituary).  I am not sure that I can say the same. 

To me, it seems that Hetherington lived life, and lived it hard (in all the good ways), as opposed to just going through the motions.  I find it exhilarating, when I am in the company of people who really live their lives and follow their passions.  But I cannot help but think about all that I am not doing, mostly out of fear of the unknown.  I doubt that Hetherington had many regrets, and I am sorry that he is no longer with us.  Maybe it's time to follow his example, and live life.

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