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In 'Which Way,' A War Photographer In His Element 07:49

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Spc. Tad Donoho screams with pain in 2008 after being administered a "pink belly" for his birthday in Korengal Valley, Kunar province, Afghanistan. Each member of the platoon strikes his stomach until it begins to bruise, hence the name pink belly. From the book Infidel. (Magnum Photos)closemore
Spc. Tad Donoho screams with pain in 2008 after being administered a "pink belly" for his birthday in Korengal Valley, Kunar province, Afghanistan. Each member of the platoon strikes his stomach until it begins to bruise, hence the name pink belly. From the book Infidel. (Magnum Photos)

At the 2011 Academy Awards, the film Restrepo was among the documentaries nominated for an Oscar. It follows an American platoon on a remote mountaintop in what was, at the time, the most dangerous place in Afghanistan.

To make the film, writer Sebastian Junger teamed up with British photojournalist Tim Hetherington — who, walking the red carpet that night at the Oscars, might as well have been a young actor straight out of central casting: tall, handsome, charismatic.

A soldier rests at the end of a day of heavy fighting at the Restrepo outpost in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. This image won the 2007 World Press Photo of the Year award. "The funny thing about war, it actually almost never hardens people," Junger says. "It almost always humanizes them, and I think war humanized Tim tremendously because it inflicted so much pain on him." (Magnum Photos)
A soldier rests at the end of a day of heavy fighting at the Restrepo outpost in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. This image won the 2007 World Press Photo of the Year award. "The funny thing about war, it actually almost never hardens people," Junger says. "It almost always humanizes them, and I think war humanized Tim tremendously because it inflicted so much pain on him." (Magnum Photos)

Six weeks later, Hetherington would be dead, killed in the siege of Misrata during Libya's civil war.

He was just 40 years old, but well into a career capturing indelible images of conflict.

Now, a documentary directed by Junger follows Hetherington's life as a war photographer, from his earliest days covering the civil war in Liberia to his final days in Misrata.

It's called Which Way Is the Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington.

Junger spoke with NPR's Renee Montagne about the life, work and goals of his friend and colleague. Excerpts from that conversation are transcribed in the image captions above; and listen to the Morning Edition audio by clicking on the player above.

Soldier Ryan Lizama sleeping at an outpost in the Korengal, June 2008. From the book Infidel. "Tim said, 'This is what the American public never gets to see, because any nation is self-selecting in the images it presents,' " Junger remembers. " 'And we want to see our soldiers as strong.' " (Magnum Photos)
Soldier Ryan Lizama sleeping at an outpost in the Korengal, June 2008. From the book Infidel. "Tim said, 'This is what the American public never gets to see, because any nation is self-selecting in the images it presents,' " Junger remembers. " 'And we want to see our soldiers as strong.' " (Magnum Photos)

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