March 6th, 2012

Tim Hetherington on a Photo He Didn’t Take in Liberia

The late photographer and filmmaker Tim Hetherington created one of his first major projects by embedding in 2003 with a Liberian rebel group attempting to overthrow then-president Charles Taylor. Hetherington’s Liberia work was collected in his 2009 book Long Story Bit By Bit: Libera Retold.

In a new paperback book, Photographs Not Taken (Daylight, $14.95), edited by photographer Will Steacy, Hetherington is among 70 photographers who described photographs they were unable or unwilling to take.

Hetherington wrote about living with “a rag-tag army of heavily armed young men” as they fought their way into the capital, Monrovia. In his story, which is excerpted today on the Web site of Obit magazine, Hetherington describes advancing with the rebels into the city, only to retreat exhausted and outgunned during a counter-attack.

The experience of being under fire and out of control sapped Hetherington of his ability to photograph a horrific auto accident he witnessed just as he and the rebels he was with escaped danger. “My brain was like a plate of scrambled eggs,” he recalled.

Read Hetherington’s full story at Obit magazine.

For more about Photographs Not Taken visit Daylight’s Web site.