* the camera roll *

little snaps from my iphone, among other things

chris hondros

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feeling pretty damn melancholy, in light of the news about chris hondros.

hondros and i met back during the weeks right after 9/11, when for some odd reason i found myself covering the brouhaha in peshawar, pakistan, for the chicago tribune.  i think he was there as a getty stringer.  not quite sure how i met him, might have been over breakfast at the pearl continental hotel in peshawar, or maybe in the one discreet speakeasy on the roof of the hotel.  either way, we became shooting buddies during our month-long stay in peshawar.  we would go shoot protests together, and would keep a watch out for each other when things would get hairy.  we would bum computer equipment off of each other and edit each other’s work.  we swapped medicine — i gave him some cipro and he gave me some malaria pills.  go to his website HERE and click on the “pakistan” gallery.  many of these pics were from this trip.

we had talked about sneaking into afghanistan once the story shifted away from pakistan.  he had hired this driver with this old yellow car that had said would drive us thru the khyber pass once the taliban fell.  well, hondros eventually went into afghanistan, while i for some reason stayed in the pakistan side.  i can blame my editors for keeping me in pakistan to cover the islamic fervor there, but deep down inside i kinda wanted to stay back because in the end, i was too chicken for conflict photography.  hondros, on the other hand, was much braver than me and had a much stronger sense of mission with his photography.

so tonight i’ve been digging thru my old hard drives for my pics from that pakistan trip.  i know i have a bunch of pics in cds filed away somewhere.   all i can seem to find are these two pics of hondros:

PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN - OCT 8, 2001: Chris Hondros during a protest in Peshawar.

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - OCT 27, 2001: Chris Hondros and I in an elevator at a hotel in Islamabad.

i haven’t seen hondros in about 8 or 9 years.  the last time i saw him, he crashed on my couch back in chicago because he was stuck in o’hare and figured to give me a call.  i guess it was either the o’hare floor or my couch.  i think we went drinking that night.

i’ve always managed to keep up with what he was doing.  the photojournalism world is tiny, with no more than two degrees of separation from pretty much the entire profession.  hondros’ boss at getty (pancho bernasconi) was my old sports photo editor at the chicago tribune.  and my buddy here in san francisco justin sullivan is a fellow getty photog and friend of hondros’.  so i had always managed to hear some tidbits about what he was doing.  i had also heard about these legendary parties he would throw back in nyc.  it didn’t surprise me that hondros had a ton of friends.  he just seemed to have a knack for making friends.  and not air-kiss cocktail party friends, but friends who haven’t seen him in almost a decade yet are completely crushed at the news of his death.

here is a really great page in tribute to him.

so as i was digging around for some pics of hondros tonight, i remembered that he once gave me a couple copies of this little booklet that he made from his kosovo project.  it’s called “the darkest days of spring; photographs from the kosovo refugee crisis for the u.s. agency for international development”.  i’m not sure when he made these.  based off of chronology that i’ve been able to piece together, this was his first big international project.  below are some pages from it.  if anyone is interested in high res versions of the entire book, just send me a note.


Written by John

April 21, 2011 at 10:47 pm

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