photo ©Jillian Edelstein

            photo ©Jillian Edelstein

Imperial War Museums acquire complete archive of award winning conflict photographer Tim Hetherington

To mark the seventh anniversary of the death of conflict photographer Tim Hetherington (5 December 1970 – 20 April 2011), Imperial War Museums (IWM) announces today the acquisition of his complete archive, which includes rarely seen images from his final embed in Libya in 2011. 

This extensive archive comprises his seminal photography and video work from his embeds in Afghanistan (2007-2008), Liberia (2003-2006) and Libya (2011), reflecting his work as an intrepid conflict journalist but also as a humanitarian and an innovator. The archive also includes his handwritten journals and correspondence, cameras used throughout his career, awards, tear sheets, and publications featuring his photography. 

Tim Hetherington is best known as an award winning conflict photographer. His numerous awards include four World Press Photo awards, a Grand Jury Prize Sundance Film Festival (2010) and two Emmy awards for continuing coverage and editing (2011). In 2010, he was also nominated for an Academy Award for Restrepo, a feature-length documentary that chronicles the deployment of a platoon of U.S soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. 

Highlights of the acquired collection include: the World Press Photo of the Year 2008 winning image of a U.S soldier, exhausted following an enemy contact, at the "Restrepo" outpost, which was named after a soldier from his platoon who was killed by insurgents earlier in the deployment; a series of photographs called ‘Sleeping Soldiers’ taken at Restrepo, which capture the soldiers at their most vulnerable and contrast with popular perceptions of conflict; and an acclaimed series of photographs from the ‘Healing Sport’ project which document the rehabilitative power of sport in war torn places such as Angola and Liberia. The archive also includes Hetherington’s camera equipment and numerous personal items used on all of his major embeds, such as the video camera used to film Restrepo

As well as being an award winning conflict photographer, Hetherington was also described as a ‘trans-media’ journalist, due to his multi-media approach to communicating and documenting his work using a mixture of photography, exhibition, video installations, books, films and spoken word. Tim Hetherington died in April 2011 from injuries sustained when covering the Arab Spring in Libya. 

Greg Brockett, IWM Curator, Contemporary Conflict, said: “Tim Hetherington was always striving to have as much freedom from editorial influence as possible, which enabled him to reveal the many complex layers of conflict in his work. He covered themes which are often overlooked in the 

mainstream media, such as humanity and masculinity. With the acquisition of this fascinating archive, IWM will be taking a fresh look at how images are used to inform and influence our collective understanding of conflict, from Tim’s visionary and distinctly self-aware perspective.” 

Judith Hetherington, Tim’s mother and a Trustee of the Tim Hetherington Trust, said: "It’s profoundly gratifying that with IWM’s commitment to the principles that Tim held so dear, his contribution will reach far into the future when the fight for truth will face as-yet unknown challenges. We could not have hoped for a better partner to carry Tim’s legacy forward; the museum’s expertise across so many areas of Tim’s practice and the sensitivity to his concerns is backed up by their commitment in making his process available for public study. The Tim Hetherington Trust now has a terrific friend in IWM as we work to promote the continuation of Tim’s ideas and ideals with new generations of visual storytellers” 

The Tim Hetherington archive was donated to IWM by the Tim Hetherington Trust, which was set-up to manage his estate following his death. IWM intends to exhibit items from Tim Hetherington’s archive in the future as part of a season of programmed activity. 


The Tim Hetherington Trust The Tim Hetherington Trust exists to preserve the legacy of Tim’s professional life as a visual storyteller and human rights advocate. This includes the safe archiving of all physical materials and to manage the intellectual and artistic use of his work. The Trust works to advance the application of Tim’s ideas and images in all ways that promote the intellectual integrity of his work and which expand the artistic expression of his vision. 

Core to this is the support and nurture of new work that continues the ideals demonstrated by Tim with special emphasis on humanitarian and social concerns. The Tim Hetherington Trust encourages 

individuals and organizations that continue in Tim's footsteps, highlighting humanitarian and social concerns throughout the world.

Tim Hetherington Trust