Christie’s is set to auction an exquisite set of photojournalism prints to raise money for the the young children of freelance photographer Anton Hammerl, who was shot and killed covering the Libyan civil war last year.
Hammerl went missing April 5, 2011, after he and three other journalists were attacked by Gaddafi loyalists. More than a month passed before his family learned he had been shot in the gut and killed. “For 44 days his family was told repeatedly by the Libyan regime that he was alive and well,” Friends of Anton, the nonprofit organizing the auction, says. “The truth is he was left to die in the desert.”
2011 was an astonishingly bad year for journalists. More than 60 were killed and 179 detained. The latter figure represents a 20% increase over 2010 and the highest level since 1990, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
“Besides raising funds for Anton’s 11-, 8- and 1-year-old children the evening aims to highlight the sacrifices made by photographers–particularly freelancers–who assume great risks to bring back images to agencies, magazines, publishers and readers worldwide, often with little backup,” Friends of Anton says.
The auction will feature signed photographs by some of contemporary photojournalism’s leading lights. They range from cheerfully innocuous (Platon’s portrait of Michelle Obama) to downright disturbing (João Silva’s snapshot of Malawi prison inmates packed in like sardines). Others, such as Adam Ferguson’s ironic photograph of a wounded American soldier smoking as he awaits Medevac, depict the dark absurdity of war, the very thing that took Hammerl’s life.
The auction will be held May 15. Details here.
Images courtesy of Friends of Anton