Review: Tim Hetherington’s ‘Infidel’

Over the last 18 months, Miniclick has raised proudly supported the Tim Hetherington Trust, and aided the continuation of his work in Sierrra Leone. A new exhibition at Photofusion shows a selection of his work from Afghanistan. Writer and photographer Dimitra Kountiou visited it for us…

Made in Afghanistan, in Korengal Valley where Hetherington spent time with the American soldiers stationed there, Infidel at Photofusion brings to our attention many of the paradoxes of war.

Tim Hetherington 2a

Tim’s work in revealing the day to day life of the soldiers in camp fills the first room. We see them playing cards, practicing golf, just passing time together. Documentary photos mix with portraits that speak volumes with their details (a photo of a girlfriend inside the soldier’s helmet is particularly poignant). The brotherhood of which Tim spoke about in previous interviews is evident, the strong bonds comes across and his ability with the camera manages to humanise. It allows us to imagine ourselves in the shoes of the soldiers who fight in this tough location and enables us to see their vulnerable side without neglecting any of their bravery, regardless of our own opinions on the conflict they are a part of.

Tim Hetherington 2b

The second room approaches the more familiar photos of war, but even there, we hardly see any true fighting, apart from a blast on a mountainous village. However, the expressions of the soldiers are different. Their faces alert us, we see the agony. A helicopter is patrolling, the sickening green and red hues create a feeling of urgency. We hear war, we smell war… We reflect back to the previous room. The contradiction of life in the camp and at the Front makes us wonder about the feelings of these individuals and their life back home. Their feelings and the horror, the seclusion, become apparent. Just what it feels like to be in a war zone?

Diary, an experimental video reinforces the feeling of what war must feel like for the people, both as a whole and on an individual level. Tim Hetherington used different mediums in order to question war as a social and humanitarian issue as well as seeking answers for himself.

Tim Hetherington 3

Through documenting life behind the scenes of conflict, Hetherington speaks about a side of war that is invisible to people. He raises questions about the condition of conflict; its social and psychological impact, whilst at the same time highlights the friendships that are formed under such conditions. This is a powerful body of work with a refined message. We don’t see the gruesome but we feel it, and this was perhaps one of Tim’s greatest skils – the ability to peel apart the layers of war in such a human way.

Tim Hetherington 4

Tim was a great activist for human rights and wanted to create further understanding through his visual story telling. He used photography, writing and filmmaking to explain war. He tried to explain why are people attracted to war. Whether he found the answers he was looking for is unknown but he surely saw himself change. He photographed war for 10 years, exposing himself to dangerous conditions and blending with the people who live the war, both soldiers and civilians, and this exhibition is a fitting show of his skills, both as a photographer and a humanitarian.

Tim Hetherington 6

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Tim Hetherington was born in Liverpool in 1970. He studied English at Oxford and photojournalism in Cardiff. He lived and worked in Africa for many years documenting conflict. He lost his life in 2011 Libyan civil war. The Tim Hetherington Trust opened in order to preserve his legacy and to support new work that advances Tim’s ideas. The trust supports organizations that Hetherington was involved with such as the Sierra Leone School for the Blinds. Miniclick supports the Tim Hetherington Trust as it’s chosen charity, raising money through regular events and aiding in the continuation of his work in Sierra Leone.

More of Tim’s work on www.timhetheringtontrust.org

The exhibition continues until 31 October

In-Conversation with Giles Duley and James Brabazon takes place on 7 October at 19:00 at Photofusion. A screening of “Which Way is the Frontline from Here?” follows the discussion.

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