The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
on entertainment and media

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Hondros dead covering war, which he saw as his calling

ChrisHondros Chris Hondros, 41, the superb photographer who took some of the most wrenching war photos of our time, has been confirmed dead in a hospital in Misurata, Libya.

The same explosion had earlier Wednesday claimed the life of photographer and filmmaker Tim Hetherington. At least two other photojournalists were injured in the blast, which was believed to have been caused by a mortar round, Los Angeles Times correspondent Ned Parker reported from Misurata.

The Big Picture noted earlier that Hondros took a series of the most chilling photos to come out of the war in Iraq. He also became one of the most eloquent spokesmen on the importance of exposing suffering in the world's trouble spots.

News reports earlier in the day had prematurely declared Hondros dead, but the 41-year-old photographer clung to life for a few hours, with a critical head wound, at Hikma Hospital.

Hondros was a 2004 Pulitzer Prize finalist for spot news photography for his work in Liberia. He won the Robert Capa Gold Medal in 2006. Friends said he had been scheduled to marry this summer.  

"I still can’t believe it," said Rick Loomis, an L.A. Times photographer and one of a cadre who worked frequently in the world's danger zones. "I knew it would happen some day to one of us. I just never wanted to really have that day ever come.  He was one of the most talented guys out there, working in places that no one wants to go but that everyone should see.  He was the eyes for so many people, whether they know it or not."

RELATED:

Tim Hetherington, photojournalist and 'Restrepo' Oscar nominee, killed in Libya

Tim Hetherington: 'Restrepo' movie takes viewers onto front lines in Afghanistan

-- James Rainey
Twitter: latimesrainey

Photo: Photographer Chris Hondros walks through the streets in Monrovia, Liberia, in 2003. Hondros, 41, died Wednesday after being wounded in what was believed to be a mortar attack in Misurata, Libya. Credit: Associated Press / Getty Images

 

 
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The dangerous side of life which pushes the envelop more and more. They take chances and get the best pictures. That is living on the edge of greatness.

After deadline, LA Times photographer Carolyn Cole emailed with her memories of Hondros. Cole: "Chris was an exceptional photographer and friend. When we were together in Liberia in 2003 covering the civil conflict, he helped me find my way to the front line when I didn't know where to go."
[Cole would win a Pulitzer Prize for photos she took in Liberia.]
"His high impact photography captured reality in a way that touched people emotionally. He loved his work and was always enthusiastic in his approach; he never doubted his purpose.
Chris was a good friend. He was able to share his hope and dreams, while being a good listener. He brogought people together who would otherwise never meet.His life was too short, but he had an impact on so many people; some of whom he never even met. Recently, he was happy to finally be engaged, starting a new life with Cristina. Chris died doing the work he loved, but that is never reason enough and I will miss him."



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