Mark wrote about why warzone photographers do what they do, yesterday. Over at Vanity Fair, Sebastian Junger has written a letter to Tim Hetherington, the photojournalist killed Wednesday, while covering the conflict in Libya.
Junger and Hetherington co-directed Restrepo, a documentary about a platoon in Afghanistan's Korongal Valley. The film was nominated for an Academy Award.
Junger's letter is devastating in its realism. It's worth a read, but here's a short excerpt in which Junger is imagining Hetherington on the back of a speeding pick-up truck headed toward a hospital in Misrata:
I'm imagining those last minutes. You're on your back watching the tops of the buildings jolt by and the blue Mediterranean sky beyond them. I almost drowned once, and when I finally got back to the beach I was all alone and I just lay there watching the clouds go by. I'd never really thought about clouds before, but there they were, all for me, just glorious. Maybe you saw those clouds, too, but you weren't out of it yet, and you probably knew it. I know what you were thinking: What a silly way to die. What a silly, selfish, ridiculous mistake to have made.
Don't think that, brother. You had a very specific vision for your work and for your life, and that vision included your death. It didn't have to, but that's how it turned out. I'm so sorry, Tim. The conversation we could have had about this crazy stunt of yours! Christ, I would have yelled at you, but you know that. Getting mad was how we kept each other safe, how we kept the other from doing something stupid.