Tim Hetherington Battle Company - Doc Kelso sleeping
Without guns and the artillery of war, the sleeping American soldiers in Tim Hetherington’s images look peaceful and childlike in their vulnerability. From 2007 to 2008, Hetherington followed the deployment of a platoon of US Airborne Infantry stationed in the Korengal Valley of Eastern Afghanistan. Hetherington reveals the soldiers’ fragility by photographing them in their sleep. Comparable to the martyrs of the Iran-Iraq war portrayed in Saba Alizadeh’s series in this exhibition, Hetherington adds complexities to the portrayal of the men whose personhood is often ignored in the interest of upholding a collective militant identity.
Such intimate moments of escape and tenderness provide a counterbalance to the common reportage that advances narratives of adrenaline-fuelled and stony-faced soldiers. This series is a tribute to Hetherington’s ability to instil a sense of trust in his subjects, as well as his power to convey his empathetic sensibility to the viewer.
The work of Tim Hetherington is part of the group exhibition Space to Breathe, curated by Newsha Tavakolian and on display in the Grote Kerk Breda.
Tim Hetherington (1970-2011, Liverpool, UK) was interested in capturing the consequences of the violence of war. Hetherington was the recipient of several prestigious grants. His approach and ideas about communicating images are noteworthy: he worked through various media and distribution platforms to reach the widest-possible audience. The multiple productions that emerged from his time in Afghanistan in 2007 are testament to his dedication to ensuring that documentary work is seen, heard, read, and felt. While covering the conflict in Misrata, Libya, Tim Hetherington was killed in a firefight on April 20, 2011.
Location: Grote Kerk