Tribute Project to Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros

Tim Hetherington
Chris Hondros

One year after their untimely deaths while working in Libya, a special tribute to Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros called “Liberty and Justice (for All)” features the work of 68 photographers. The tribute includes work of some of the world’s best photojournalists, and explores the concepts of liberty and justice.

Read more about the exhibit on my blog for the Foreign Policy Association.

Finding Story Ideas that Move You to Action

A frequent question that newer reporters have is, “How do I find good story ideas?” Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question. Also unfortunately, it is often a process of trial and error.

Some writers swear by jotting ideas down in a notebook for future reference. Other people live and die by a specialized RSS feed of news and information that they created. Some people troll the Internet for prolonged periods of time until they find something interesting to write about.

All of these methods are fine, but in my experience they could result in mediocre stories or no story at all. That idea-notebook trick? For me, it’s like taking an idea and putting it in a drawer that I might never open again.

The best answer to this question also happens to be the answer that is the most difficult to accomplish: get out in the world and find good ideas.

The good news is that ideas for stories are everywhere. When I was home for Christmas this year in Washington State, I kept overhearing people in my hometown (which is the state capitol) lamenting the massive budget cuts in state government. Since I was in a town with about 20,000 state government employees, I just had to be in the right type of coffee shop or restaurant and I could literally eavesdrop on conversations so compelling that I knew there was  a story there. People were stressed out about their jobs and the agencies they worked for surviving the budget cuts. Nobody knew what was going to happen, and so many people were so worried that talk about it was literally in the air.

A story like that–state budget cuts bring tension to small town America–is full of human drama and suspense. And I happen to genuinely care about how my home state fares in the current economic crisis. I didn’t write the story in the end, but it’s an example of how to find something interesting and worth describing to others.

During a journalism conference a few years ago, I sat in on a session with a multi-Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Tom Hallman. His one big secret to share with us in finding great stories? Look for the “ahh! factor.” He told us a series of brief stories on different topics, but only once or twice did the audience literally say, “Ahh!” when he was describing the story’s details. Look for that factor, that fascination, when you’re thinking about whether something is worthwhile.

The other great stories I have found in the last few years have mostly come from my participation in the world. I attend events, lectures, discussions, and see who is there. If someone strikes me as particularly interesting at an event, I track them down later and find out more about who they are, what they do, and why they do it. It’s in this way that I ended up writing about interesting characters like Oscar-nominated filmmaker Tim Hetherington, and Afghan-born Sonia Nassery Cole–who recently shot an entire feature film on location in Afghanistan called the Black Tulip (which is unheard of).

Two things to remember when you’re looking for a great story: don’t be afraid to abandon a topic if you can see it’s a dead end, no matter how excited you were initially, and get out from behind your computer or you’ll never become great at what you do. It doesn’t matter if you live in New York City or Provo, Utah–there are stories everywhere, you just have to look for them.

From Liberian Rebels to the Afghan Front Lines

Photographer and documentary filmmaker Tim Hetherington tells of his work

By Joshua Philipp for The Epoch Times

Read the full article about Tim Hetherington in a talk with Mario Tama at NYU on The Epoch Times’ website

NEW YORK—He has taken a unique approach to documentary journalism: living his stories. From the battlefields of the Liberian Civil War to the front lines in Afghanistan, documentary filmmaker and award-winning photographer Tim Hetherington has experienced his stories in ways that few have.

During a presentation at New York University on Dec. 8 Hetherington explained his art and shared his insights on what he has witnessed.

He has seen what the rebels and soldiers have seen, marched where they marched, and shot a different element of the battle. Rather than focus his work on the carnage and violence which characterizes war, Hetherington instead turned his camera inward—toward the soldiers and the lives behind the uniforms. Young men with guns.

His art took form during the Liberian Civil War which lasted from 1999 to 2003. A friend approached him with an offer he couldn’t refuse—to live with the rebel forces, the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) who would eventually remove President Charles Taylor from power and establish a new rule.

“My work is really born out, initially, as a kind of witnessing or engagement,” said Hetherington.

Rather than make a one-time visit to shoot photos of the aftermath, Hetherington returns again and again, which allows for a “perceptual process” to develop in his work, as he explains it.

“I was kind of inside the war,” he said. “I mean we lived with these guys and there was no way out. We couldn’t fly in or fly out, we lived with them. It was the rainy season, we had little food, and we lived in pretty extreme circumstances.” Hetherington was embedded with Liberian rebels with a friend and fellow journalist.

Read the full article about Tim Hetherington in a talk with Mario Tama at NYU on The Epoch Times’ website

Tim Hetherington in NYC Forum Dec. 8 at NYU

Register to see Tim Hetherington in NYC on Dec. 8 here

The Epoch Times cordially invites you to attend an evening with Tim Hetherington, an award-winning photojournalist and filmmaker. He will discuss his new book, Long Story Bit By Bit: Liberia Retold, as well as his upcoming documentary about a platoon of U.S. Airborne soldiers in Afghanistan. A book signing and reception will follow the event.

This is the inaugural Ground View forum, the first in a series of intriguing and informative events featuring journalists who have witnessed some of the world’s most important news firsthand.

Hetherington’s upcoming documentary, entitled Restrepo, was just accepted into the Sundance Film Festival.

Register to see Tim Hetherington in NYC on Dec. 8 here

NYC Forum to Feature Tim Hetherington

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TIM HETHERINGTON AND HIS UPCOMING TALK IN NEW YORK

Attend an evening with Tim Hetherington, an award-winning photojournalist and filmmaker on Tuesday, Dec. 8. He will discuss his new book, Long Story Bit By Bit: Liberia Retold, as well as his upcoming documentary about a platoon of U.S. Airborne soldiers in Afghanistan. A book signing and reception will follow the event

This is the inaugural Ground View forum, the first in a series of intriguing and informative events featuring journalists who have witnessed some of the world’s most important news firsthand.

Location: NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute

20 Cooper Square, 6th Floor, New York, NY

Time: Slide show/Discussion/6:30 pm

Book signing and reception to follow

Admission: General Admission $12.00

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TIM HETHERINGTON AND HIS UPCOMING TALK IN NEW YORK

Top Photojournalists Gather at Brooklyn Gallery

by Genevieve Long for The Epoch Times

See Tim Hetherington in NYC on Dec. 8, 2009, click here for more details

NEW YORK—Close on the heels of the New York Photo Festival, VII photography agency hosted two provocative events at their studio in Brooklyn. Both events featured discussions with photojournalists and documentary photographers on the state of their craft locally and around the world.
Gary Knight at VII in Brooklyn The events on May 21 and 22 were both co-sponsored by dispatches, a journal created by veteran journalists and photojournalists. The journal is a book-like quarterly publication centered on a different theme in each publication, and includes photo essays and reportage (reporting underwritten with personal insight). The most recent edition, “Out of Poverty,” looks at issues related to poverty around the world.

“It [was created] out of a frustration that I was being asked to look at things in an increasingly banal way,” said Gary Knight, editor and art director of dispatches. Knight, who is also co-founder of VII, has photo essays on global poverty featured in the current issue of dispatches.

He says he tries to bring something human and hopeful to people with his photographs.

“You don’t want to leave people in despair,” said Knight, who showed an audience of about 50 a slideshow of his photographs of poverty from dispatches at the May 21 event. “There always has to be some sense of hope.”

Shots from Brazil, India, and Ohio were included and will be on display at the VII gallery through June 16. Audience members were also invited to print their own photos of poverty and add them to a wall in the gallery. About 25 audience photographs were displayed.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE