Review: Hondros


Celebrating the life and extraordinary work of the conflict photographer Chris Hondros, this documentary reveals many facets of the man behind some of the greatest images of war time in the 21st Century.

Through use of still photography, archival interviews and talking heads with his closest friends, family and colleagues, director Greg Campbell captures the fearlessness, discipline and thoughtfulness of Hondros. From a biographical standpoint, this film gives a brief outline of his childhood but focuses primarily on the drive and ambition that led him through his career.

Opening with footage that seems typical of his time entrenched in conflict, the documentary opens amidst the chaos in Liberia, with Chris capturing images and then rather casually answering his phone while gunfire rages around him. All at once, this film hones in on the storm of tension and chaos that conflict photographers must step into in order to do their job. The very real and constant dangers of war are both life threatening and intensely apparent, yet somehow Chris Hondros looks as though he’s taking it in his stride. It is a testament to the filmmakers that at no point do you feel as though they are either glorifying the conflict nor demonising the violence, merely documenting objectively.

Throughout the film there are interviews with key people involved with the images taken. Humanising the subject and showing the incredible lengths in which Chris would go out of his way to help others, often at his own risk. From Samar Hassan in Iraq to Joseph Duo in Liberia, we see the cause and effect of this figure in their lives, and how his photography illuminated their plight across the world stage.

This documentary tells of a fascinating life that ended all to abruptly. It highlights the importance of photojournalism within times of conflict and the brave men and women who carry out that role and humanises the faces you are likely to have seen on the cover of newspapers, magazines and websites. Focussing primarily on Chris’ work in the field, Campbell still manages to give a vivid sense of the man behind the camera.

Hondros will be screening on a limited release in March and will be arriving on Netflix later this year.

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