The death last week of Tim Hetherington has resonated all over the world, with his fellow journalists in Libya and his childhood friends in England and industry power brokers in Hollywood, where the "Restrepo" co-director just six weeks ago celebrated an Oscar nomination.
But a particular kind of melancholy was in the air recently at the Half King, the Manhattan bar and restaurant that Hetherington frequented when he wasn't on assignment in a dangerous location. Hetherington was killed last week, along with Chris Hondros, a New York-based photographer for Getty Images, while covering battles between rebels and Libyan government forces. Two other photojournalists were injured.
The Half King is co-owned by Sebastian Junger, the author and filmmaker who collaborated with Hetherington on the Afghanistan verite documentary "Restrepo." Junger memorialized his friend by taking down from a prominent wall space an explanatory plaque about the establishment and replacing it instead with a stark image of Hetherington. In the photo, the journalist is covering an African military conflict and is surrounded by amateur soldiers brandishing automatic weapons. Hetherington is holding an elaborate apparatus in his hands, too, but his machine is, of course, a camera.
Hetherington came to the Half King as often as several times a week when he was in town, either to chat with Junger about work or war, or simply to grab a beer and some food before heading out on his next risky assignment. A manager recalled seeing him in the restaurant just a few weeks ago.
Junger, the manager said, plans to display more information about his partner.