A photograph is a frozen moment in time, a captured image of
truth stolen from a split second of reality. Pictures become
history’s memory of events and places that few ever witness, but
Photographers bring the shocking images of faraway places and
the reality that accompanies their existence to the rest of the
world. It is the photographers who put their lives on the line to
capture truth, which touches people in ways no words ever can.
Chris Hondros, a staff photographer for Getty Images News
Service and a contributing editor to the Fort Collins Weekly, came
to CSU on Sept. 25 to speak and display his photographs from the
recent Iraq War and from his time in the war-torn African country
of Liberia this past summer.
“Being a war correspondent is not the easiest job in the world.
It’s lonely, it’s depressing and you go and seek out the things
that most people do their best to avoid,” said Greg Campbell,
editor in chief of the Fort Collins Weekly, before introducing
Hondros to the crowd.
Hondros has been a photographer for 10 years. In that time, he
has photographed and reported from Afghanistan, Israel, Sierra
Leone, Kosovo and Nigeria, among other places.
His photographs have appeared in many publications across the
country including the New York Times, Time magazine, the Los
Angeles Times and the Rocky Mountain News.
Hondros, who was brought in by the Department of Journalism and
Technical Communication, the Society of Professional Journalists
and the Fort Collins Weekly, spoke to students, faculty and members
of the community about being a photojournalist in Iraq during the
“Our experience as photojournalists is usually helpful, but in
Iraq we were the targets,” Hondros said.
He explained how he and other unilateral journalists had rented
SUVs in Kuwait and were traveling into Iraq together and were just
four days into the assignment when Iraqis caught them up in an
“I was unilateral for only four days. We had no idea how bad the
security situation was going to be,” Hondros said.
The American forces at that time sent Hondros and the other
journalists he was with back to Kuwait. He was embedded with
American troops and went back into Iraq with the relative safety of
the U.S. Marines.
“The POW issue was . . . the (US marines) would detain them,
de-arm them and than let them go. Everywhere you looked you saw
many POWs. They were everywhere,” Hondros said.
Hondros gave a brief slideshow of his pictures taken in Iraq and
spoke to the crowd about the aftermath of the war.
“The images after the war were, in many ways, more shocking than
the ones taken during the fighting,” Hondros said. “The hardest,
most difficult thing to see was the hospital in Baghdad. It was
just full of (injured) people.”
Hondros, before moving his presentation to his time in Liberia,
spoke about the general sentiment of the Iraqi people.
“Almost every family had a loved one who had been kidnapped by
the Baathist Regime. Almost everybody was happy to see Saddam go,
but I am not sure if every Iraqi was happy to have America there,”
Hondros spent the second half of the presentation discussing his
experiences and showing a slideshow of his pictures from
“Liberia was different from Iraq because unlike the Iraqis,
everybody in Liberia wanted the Americans to come in and help,” he
As the pictures of the civil war in Liberia were shown to the
audience, quiet gasps and whispers could be heard from the dark.
The images Hondros captured in Liberia were more graphic than the
images he took in Iraq.
The photographs taken of the civil war in Liberia, the images of
destruction and death so distant from Fort Collins, were projected
onto the giant screen of the room in Yates Hall.
“You shoot these things . . . not just to see what is happening
there, but to see what is in the people’s hearts. You see some
terrible things doing this type of work, but you also get to see
the utter joy of the people (after the fighting is over),” Hondros
said. “I try and believe in what we’re doing here because we shed a
little light onto dark places and somebody has got to do it.”