Standing Close to Tim Hetherington’s Sleeping Soldiers

Tim Hetherington–Panos
Tim Hetherington–Panos
Specialist Michael Cunningham, Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan. June 2008

Tim Hetherington always aimed to captivate the largest audience possible with his life’s work documenting humanity affected by war. His multifaceted talents are seen through the varied roles he’s played in his career. The magazine photographer. The director who co-authored the Oscar nominated documentary Restrepo with Sebastian Junger. The television journalist for Nightline who captured very rare footage of a platoon losing a fellow soldier in a firefight. The artist. In this latter mode, Tim created a completely unique video installation called Sleeping Soldiers, first shown at the 2009 New York Photo Festival.

Viewers at the Photo Festival were instructed to stand close to a set of three large video screens. The three-channel work features layered images of soldiers from a U.S. Airborne Infantry platoon based in the Korengal Valley during periods of combat and while at rest. Intimate photographs of soldiers sleeping are paired with video footage depicting their often violent day-to-day work. Detailed editing and sound design by Magali Charrier help echo the surreal and brutal realities of war—realities these men all too often carry into their only moments of peace. Sleeping Soldiers’ unique format allows viewers to engage in their own dreamlike, immersive experience, evoking critical consideration of the strains of war placed upon the men engaged in the conflict.

Now being offered for public viewing by the Aperture Gallery and Bookstore, the installation provides a rare chance to see Tim’s work as it was intended. The video is on view till June 23, 2011. For more information, visit Aperture.org.

Installation view of Sleeping Soldiers at Aperture Gallery, New York City.

For more post on Tim Hetherington check out our video on his final book, Infidel, and his film, Restrepo.

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