Past Exhibition

War and Peace in Liberia: Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros

Bronx Documentary Centre pays tribute to two late photojournalists who risked their lives to raise awareness of the Liberian Civil Wars

Tim Hetherington

Tim Hetherington Rain clouds gather over the forest near to Fish Town. Fish Town, Liberia. June 2005. © Tim Hetherington | Magnum Photos

Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros’ powerful photographs played an important role in moving the world to action and ultimately bringing the Second Liberian Civil War (1999-2003) to an end.

Trapped with Liberian dictator Charles Taylor’s forces in besieged Monrovia in the summer of 2003, Chris braved artillery and rocket fire to send frontline pictures of women and children being killed by the hundreds. His photos ran on front pages around the world and provoked outrage at a brutal war whose victims were almost entirely non-combatants.

Tim Hetherington, embedded with the LURD rebels in the same period, provided the documentation of the rebels shelling civilians. Even the ruthless Charles Taylor considered him a threat and sent assassination squads to kill the British photojournalist. Tim barely escaped, only to return and live in Liberia following the conflict. His haunting book, Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold, has become a standard text of the Liberian Wars.

Tim Hetherington A member of the AA (Anti-Aircraft) brigade exchanges a brief tender word with his girlfriend during a heavy fighting in the capital Monrovia. Monrovia, Liberia. June 25th, 2003. © Tim Hetherington | Magnum Photos
Tim Hetherington A fisherman passes the wreck of an old ship off port of Greenville. Liberia is scattered with boat wrecks owing to the 14 year civil war. Greenville, Liberia. September 2005. © Tim Hetherington | Magnum Photos

Together, these two photographers alerted the world to Liberia’s humanitarian disaster and helped to build the international momentum which resulted in the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission that brought the war to a close, helped set the stage for democratic elections and created a lasting success story for the West African nation and the subregion. The UN closed its Liberia mission last year–the last of three successful operations in the Mano River basin—leaving being a country still fragile but with a fighting chance for peace and development.

The photos in this exhibition, some never before shown, are a tribute to these journalists, and to the Liberian civilians who protested so powerfully and demanded an end to the violence. In 2011, Tim and Chris, friends and colleagues committed to documenting the truth, were killed by artillery in Misurata, Libya.

This exhibition is curated by Michael Kamber and Cynthia Rivera.

More information here.

Exhibition in collaboration with:

Magnum Photos
Getty Images
United Nations Peacekeeping
The United Nations Foundation
RISC Training

Tim Hetherington War graffiti left during the various parts of the Liberian civil war. Liberia. 2004. © Tim Hetherington | Magnum Photos
Tim Hetherington Young rebel fighter and hand grenade. Tubmanburg, Liberia. June 16th, 2003. © Tim Hetherington | Magnum Photos
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