Today – as we have every day since April 20, 2011 – we remember our friend and colleague, photojournalist Chris Hondros.
Chris was killed two years ago while covering the uprising against Libya’s dictatorial regime, falling in the same attack that claimed his friend and fellow photojournalist, Tim Hetherington. Since that day, Chris’ indelible spirit and influence have sparked needed conversations about the importance of protecting journalists in conflict zones, inspired emerging and veteran photojournalists alike and affirmed the importance of a free press in society. Articles, exhibits and a book have reflected on his life and his work. And recent honors not only keep memories of Chris alive, but also increase his reputation for extraordinary talent, professionalism and humanity. On Sunday, April 21, 2013, Chris will be inducted into the University of North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame. How fitting.
I was fortunate to get to know Chris well over the more than a decade that we worked together. He was a truly special person with great values and a deep well of empathy and humanity that has had a lasting impact on me. I have a photo of Chris next to my desk, both to remind me of him everyday and also to ensure that we do not forget the critical importance of what he was doing when he died and our obligation to continue that critical work.
At Getty Images, we honor Chris with our ongoing support of The Chris Hondros Fund, the nonprofit established to celebrate his life and work and to encourage other photojournalists who approach their profession with the art, passion, ethics and humanity that are evident in Chris’ photographs. In June, the photojournalism community will gather in New York City for a benefit to raise funds to continue this work and to honor the recipients of this year’s Getty Images and Chris Hondros Fund Award for Photojournalism.
If you value the unique role of independent photojournalists – those who will put their own safety at risk to be society’s witness to the key events of our time, please join us in supporting the Chris Hondros Fund by participating in this year’s benefit or with a contribution. Your backing will help us carry on, full of the hope and humanity that emanates from Chris’ work, and which inspires all photojournalists to help us better understand our world.
Editor’s note: Jonathan Klein is CEO and Co-founder of Getty Images and a member of the Board of Directors of The Committee to Protect Journalists. See his previous posts about Chris Hondros, the importance of protecting journalists in conflict zones and the value of press freedom to society.