Tim Hetherington – Experimental vs Traditional


“[Tim] was very brave, both on the battlefield, and, as an artist, he really pushed boundaries, and was not afraid of consequences. He was quite fearless.” – Sebastian Junger

“There are lots of brave war reporters who aren’t thinking in particularly complex ways about art. There are lots of brilliant artists who wouldn’t be caught dead getting shot at. There are plenty of brilliant and brave people who are not particularly compassionate,” he says.”Tim was truly all three and it made for an absolutely extraordinary person.” – Sebastian Junger

“Brotherhood means laying down your life for somebody, really willing to sacrifice yourself for somebody else” – Tim Hetherington

Other Experimental war photographers

Tivadar Domaniczky, Balazs Gardi and Teru Kuwayama – Basetrack


Basetrack is an experimental media project, tracking the 1/8 – 1st Battalion, Eighth Marines, throughout the duration of their seven month deployment to southern Afghanistan. Five photojournalists embedded with the battalion are transmitting photographs and essays from Helmand province. They walk with the Marines, documenting their daily operations using the iPhone Hipstamatic App.’



Markus Bleasdale

Bleasdale risks his life to capture real moments with gun threats, but communicates using cigarettes to negotiate his safety. His techniques arn’t too different that Robert Capa and Phillip Blenkinsop, but its the distribution of his images what communicates the message he wants, you can only get those details of shock and engagement through photography. He wants people to be as angry as he is that a child is walking around with a gun instead of playing football with their sons and daughters.


Both Bleasdale and the Basetrack photographers are pushing new ideas into photography as well as Hetherington. Bleasdale targets the emotion of his viewers by photographing small children and getting so close, engaging with the viewer so much that it makes them angry and confused. The Basetrack photographers, like Hetherington, bring more humanity to war, but not with showing the intimacy of the solders, by photographing them with tools accessible to most people to show how real the situation is. Furthermore, the over the top editing makes it seem more dangerous, a technique that Hetherington would not agree with, but it shows signs of experimentation in the media.


‘The truth is the best picture, the best propaganda’ – Robert Capa


‘It is the photographer’s job to show some of [the horror of war], to say: this is what it’s like on the ground, this is what war does to you.’ – Don McCullin


Traditional war photography was incredibly important to show people what war is like, because it there were limitations of not having the internet, and it was harder to broadcast the video footage. Therefore, the photographs by individuals such as Robert Capa and Don McCullin were less art, more documentation. The ideas of propaganda polluted photography considerably, losing the true element and gaining the photographers view on war. It’s not to say that was wrong, its less truthful, and what Hetherington’s experimentation gives the viewer is a relatable experience. Traditional war photography shows how horrific it is, and how unbelievable it is to be in that situation, which gives shock, but doesn’t give the attachment to the individual solders, although its intensity does provoke a genuine fear and attachment to the subjects. Hetherington and Bleasdale interpretation was more emotional and showed more dangers, but the human response to those dangers. Hetherington’s photography speaks to me more because of this connection, and I feel his work has more meaning and art to it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s