With the release of a stirring documentary about the late photojournalist Chris Hondros, FOTO remembers some of his most searing images.
Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Published March 16, 2018
Published 5 months ago
All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
As a photographer working in the world's most difficult and dangerous places, Chris Hondros had the uncanny ability to connect the people embroiled in far-flung and often obscure conflicts to those seeing his pictures from the comfort of their couch. He covered most of the world's major conflicts since the late 1990s, including brutal wars in Kosovo, Angola, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Iraq, Liberia, and Libya.
Hondros was killed while on assignment in Misrata, Libya on April 20, 2011, at age 41, struck by an RPG fired by Gaddafi's forces.
Here, Hondros' thoughts on photography are presented along with some of his images.
Chris Hondros/Getty ImagesOctober 2009 - Paktika Province, AfghanistanChris Hondros/Getty ImagesApril 2011 - Ajdabiyah, Libya"Great photography requires steadiness of hand and heart. Very often the window to take an important picture is only open for a fraction of a second. Waver or hesitate, even if the world is crashing down around you, and the moment will pass."Chris Hondros/Getty ImagesJuly 2003 - Monrovia, Liberia
Chris Hondros/Getty ImagesJanuary 2005 - Tal Afar, Iraq"The problem with war photography is that there's absolutely no way to do it from a distance. You have to be close."Chris Hondros/Getty ImagesApril 2003 - Al-Kut, IraqChris Hondros/Getty ImagesMarch 2003 - Cizre, Turkey"Many of my photographs are portraits: focused on the probing eyes of an Afghan village boy, or the playful gaze of rambunctious Iraqi schoolgirls enjoying their precious few years of relative freedom before aging into more restricted adulthoods, or the piercing stare of an American Marine looking back at me through a small mirror on an unadorned wall."
Chris Hondros/Getty ImagesJune 2007 - Baghdad, IraqChris Hondros/Getty ImagesMarch 2001 - Akaraolu, Nigeria"One of the ongoing themes in my work, I hope, and one of the things I believe in, is a sense of human nature, a sense of shared humanity above the cultural laws we place on ourselves. We place these layers of ethnicity and culture on ourselves, and it really doesn’t mean that much compared to the human experience."Chris Hondros/Getty ImagesApril 2011 - Misrata, Libya
Chris Hondros/Getty ImagesJune 2010 - Herat, Afghanistan"Of course, the view from a Humvee window, for all it’s apparent intimacy, provides a limited look at a complex country. Vignettes of street life give some understanding of any society, but an incomplete and ephemeral one."Chris Hondros/Getty ImagesMarch 2010 - Khan Neshin, AfghanistanChris Hondros/Getty ImagesJuly 2007 - Baghdad, Iraq"I’m looking for the music that best conveys the tragedy of Iraq. One night, I was out with the Marines before an offensive in an utterly remote desert of Anbar province, sleeping in an open on the sand. The moon had set and it was ethereally dark and quiet, and I listened to Beethoven’s cavatina as I stared up into a black sea sprinkled liberally with lights of the cosmos. And I felt, just for a moment, that I almost understood why I was there and what it all meant."
The Chris Hondros Fund advances the work of photojournalists who espouse his legacy and vision, and sponsors fellowships and programs that bring shared human experiences into the public eye that might otherwise go unnoticed or unreported.