A Photojournalist Remembered

Getty Images photographer Chris Hondros stands in front of a burning building while on assignment on April 18, in Misrata, Libya. Hondros was killed in Misrata on April 20.

hide captionGetty Images photographer Chris Hondros stands in front of a burning building while on assignment on April 18, in Misrata, Libya. Hondros was killed in Misrata on April 20.

Getty Images via AP

Photojournalists Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington were killed by a mortar round in Misrata, Libya, on April 20. Fellow photographers Guy Martin and Michael Christopher Brown were also injured. Photojournalist Andrea Bruce shares her memories of Hondros.

People may not understand life in Iraq or Libya, but most know what its like to hurt. Or to lose someone they love. Crossing the language and cultural barriers of the world, photos point out the similarities of human nature. We have a visceral reaction when we see a little girl cry because her parents were shot in front of her. They are not just numbers or names. They are people. We want to reach inside the frame and help her.

This is what one of Chris Hondros' most unforgettable images from Iraq did for us. It shows a reality that was often reported, but rarely seen.

Samar Hassan, 5, screams after her parents were killed by U.S. soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division in a shooting in Tal Afar, Iraq, on Jan. 18, 2005. The troops fired on the Hassan family car when it unwittingly approached them during a patrol in the tense northern Iraqi town.

hide captionSamar Hassan, 5, screams after her parents were killed by U.S. soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division in a shooting in Tal Afar, Iraq, on Jan. 18, 2005. The troops fired on the Hassan family car when it unwittingly approached them during a patrol in the tense northern Iraqi town.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Chris understood the power of photography as much as most governments do. The first thing banned in countries of conflict, the first thing targeted, are cameras. But Chris had an unflinching desire to tell the truth and an uncompromising need make people see the problems of the world.

He always remained strong. Unapologetic.

He went to great lengths to provide anyone who asked with all the advice needed to do this job safely and intelligently. Or, make you a mixed CD of classical music when you were down. Or, take the time to write you a two-page, well-researched email if he disagreed with you.

  • Rebel fighters carefully move into a building where they had trapped government loyalist troops during street fighting on Tripoli Street in downtown Misrata, Libya, on April 20. Photojournalist Chris Hondros was killed by a mortar round the day this photo was taken.
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    Rebel fighters carefully move into a building where they had trapped government loyalist troops during street fighting on Tripoli Street in downtown Misrata, Libya, on April 20. Photojournalist Chris Hondros was killed by a mortar round the day this photo was taken.
    All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
  • A rebel fighter celebrates as his comrades fire a rocket barrage toward the positions of troops loyal to Libyan ruler Moammar Gaddafi, April 14, west of Ajdabiyah.
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    A rebel fighter celebrates as his comrades fire a rocket barrage toward the positions of troops loyal to Libyan ruler Moammar Gaddafi, April 14, west of Ajdabiyah.
    All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
  • Joseph Duo, a Liberian militia commander loyal to the government, exults after firing a rocket-propelled grenade at rebel forces at a key strategic bridge in Monrovia, Liberia, on July 20, 2003.
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    Joseph Duo, a Liberian militia commander loyal to the government, exults after firing a rocket-propelled grenade at rebel forces at a key strategic bridge in Monrovia, Liberia, on July 20, 2003.
    All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
  • Samar Hassan, 5, screams after her parents were killed by U.S. soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division in a shooting in Tal Afar, Iraq, on Jan. 18, 2005. The troops fired on the Hassan family car when it unwittingly approached them during a patrol in the tense northern Iraqi town. Parents Hussein and Camila Hassan were killed instantly, and a son Racan, 11, was seriously wounded in the abdomen...
    Hide caption
    Samar Hassan, 5, screams after her parents were killed by U.S. soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division in a shooting in Tal Afar, Iraq, on Jan. 18, 2005. The troops fired on the Hassan family car when it unwittingly approached them during a patrol in the tense northern Iraqi town. Parents Hussein and Camila Hassan were killed instantly, and a son Racan, 11, was seriously wounded in the abdomen. Racan, paralyzed from the waist down, was treated later in the U.S.
    All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
  • An Egyptian anti-government protester stands on a balcony over the front line between anti- and pro-Mubarak factions on the edge of Cairo's Tahrir Square on Feb. 3.
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    An Egyptian anti-government protester stands on a balcony over the front line between anti- and pro-Mubarak factions on the edge of Cairo's Tahrir Square on Feb. 3.
    All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
  • A woman in Tahrir Square cries after it was announced that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was giving up power, Feb. 11.
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    A woman in Tahrir Square cries after it was announced that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was giving up power, Feb. 11.
    All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
  • A detained man waits to be photographed by Marines for processing with the weapons allegedly found with him, June 24, 2005, near Fallujah, Iraq.
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    A detained man waits to be photographed by Marines for processing with the weapons allegedly found with him, June 24, 2005, near Fallujah, Iraq.
    All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
  • Exhausted Israeli soldiers gather on the Israeli-Lebanese border after marching in from Lebanon the morning of Aug. 14.
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    Exhausted Israeli soldiers gather on the Israeli-Lebanese border after marching in from Lebanon the morning of Aug. 14.
    All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
  • Medic Sgt. Matthew Kunkle (left) and Pvt. Aaron Livas carry a wounded Iraqi man in Baghdad on May 16, 2008. The man had been shot in the leg by U.S. troops after trying to flee from them. He was immediately treated by the U.S. medic traveling with the platoon and transported to the nearest base for medical care.
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    Medic Sgt. Matthew Kunkle (left) and Pvt. Aaron Livas carry a wounded Iraqi man in Baghdad on May 16, 2008. The man had been shot in the leg by U.S. troops after trying to flee from them. He was immediately treated by the U.S. medic traveling with the platoon and transported to the nearest base for medical care.
    All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
  • Men missing arms and ears walk around a camp for amputees in Freetown, Sierra Leone, June 5, 2001.
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    Men missing arms and ears walk around a camp for amputees in Freetown, Sierra Leone, June 5, 2001.
    All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
  • A boy looks out at the destruction in Beirut's southern suburbs, Aug. 21, 2006.
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    A boy looks out at the destruction in Beirut's southern suburbs, Aug. 21, 2006.
    All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
  • Afghan schoolgirls seen through the window of a Humvee wave to a passing American convoy in downtown Herat, Afghanistan, on June 26, 2010.
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    Afghan schoolgirls seen through the window of a Humvee wave to a passing American convoy in downtown Herat, Afghanistan, on June 26, 2010.
    All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
  • Haitians pass in front of the collapsed multistory St. Gerard School in Port-au-Prince on Jan.15, 2010.
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    Haitians pass in front of the collapsed multistory St. Gerard School in Port-au-Prince on Jan.15, 2010.
    All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
  • Men brandish flags during a parade celebrating the Shiite festival of Al Ghadeer in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad, Jan. 29, 2005.
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    Men brandish flags during a parade celebrating the Shiite festival of Al Ghadeer in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad, Jan. 29, 2005.
    All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
  • A woman is reflected in a Baghdad shop window on a busy boulevard, Feb. 3, 2005.
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    A woman is reflected in a Baghdad shop window on a busy boulevard, Feb. 3, 2005.
    All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
  • An Iraqi police officer fires at attacking insurgents during a Jan. 16, 2005, firefight in Tal Afar, Iraq. A routine patrol in the insurgent stronghold turned into an hourlong running gun battle with a combined U.S. and Iraqi police force battling insurgents across alleys and down boulevards.
    Hide caption
    An Iraqi police officer fires at attacking insurgents during a Jan. 16, 2005, firefight in Tal Afar, Iraq. A routine patrol in the insurgent stronghold turned into an hourlong running gun battle with a combined U.S. and Iraqi police force battling insurgents across alleys and down boulevards.
    All photos by Chris Hondros/Getty Images

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Chris was the glue of our photojournalism community — a community that has had a rough year. Many colleagues have been injured, kidnapped and killed. The void left by his, and Tim's, death will not only be a blow to news organizations and all of us who knew and admired them, but also to the people who live in Misrata — who are also being killed — with few people left to give them a voice.

Without Chris, Tim, and other photojournalists like them, the truth about the horrors of war can easily be hidden. Dismissed. Accepted.

Andrea Bruce is a freelance photojournalist based in Afghanistan and Mexico who focuses on war and its aftermath. She has worked primarily in the Middle East and Asia for the past 10 years and is represented by the VII Network.

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