Those of us who covered the Kerry for President campaign in 2004 felt a special horror in yesterday's news about the two photographers who were killed in Libya.
The more widely known to the world, perhaps, was Tim Hetherington, who received an Academy Award nomination for "Restrepo," his documentary about a US platoon in an Afghanistan valley.
The more closely known to the campaign travelers, though, was Chris Hondros of Getty Images. He rode the Kerry plane often and brought his combat photography skills to the political arena.
Senator John Kerry just issued a statement in which the Massachusetts Democrat recounts many of Hondros's traits and campaign moments:
“The news that Chris Hondros was killed in Misurata is a gut punch to so many people, for so many reasons, both because he was so young, so talented, and perhaps most of all because he was so fearless. It is impossible to imagine him doing anything but the work he loved doing. The world is a more enlightened and more aware place today because Chris Hondros felt such a profound responsibility to brave war zones in order to share the truth in poignant images with the rest of the world.
“I got to know Chris on the campaign trail in 2003 and 2004, from our campaign announcement in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., through to the end. I last saw him at Ted Kennedy’s memorial service, outside in the cold rain that seemed appropriately to be falling that difficult day.
"On all those occasions, Chris Hondros seemed to be in perpetual motion, his camera in tow, always looking for a fresh angle or perspective to capture the day’s events. His energy was infectious and he knew no limits, once in our traveling herd very famously escaping the bubble and temporarily sending the advance staff into panic, appearing unexpectedly through an opening in the velvet curtain to photograph me in mid-speech, on live television.
"The Secret Service wasn’t thrilled, but you had to laugh at the way he broke the rules but won the shot of the day.
"In Madison, Wisc., he braved a cherry picker that took him hundreds of feet in the air to shoot the sea of people stretched out to the capitol dome as Bruce Springsteen and I campaigned together, but that same day we saw him slyly escape the buffer and climb the steps of a fraternity house to photograph the students holding a sign inviting Springsteen to come join them for a beer.
"Chris was funny, witty, and engaging, even mischievous, and he knew these college kids were as much or more a part of the story of democracy in America as even the most memorable political rally.
“On long flights across the country, I sometimes had the chance to escape the front cabin and join up with the photographers traveling with us. I think it was there I first saw some of Chris’s most important photos on his laptop, meticulously catalogued, spanning his war time coverage of poverty, humanity, and conflict everywhere from Kosovo and Iraq to Afghanistan.
"They were compelling beyond words.
"He had a special gift and amazing capacity not just to plunge into a war zone and document these scenes of suffering, but to come out and return home with his own humanity intact. Everything about him his passion, his sense of purpose, and his spirit gave meaning to the word `photojournalist.'”
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.