Just before he was captured by pro-Gaddafi forces in Libya, South African photographer Anton Hammerl uploaded a series of photographs to his online archive (more specifically Photoshelter which is an online ecommerce system for picture publication). His wife, Penny Sukhraj, accessed an edit of those pictures and asked Africa Media Online to represent the images which are now available for publication.
The photos were taken just outside Brega of “Benghazi based anti Gaddafi freedom fighters 10km outside the recaptured town of Brega en route to the ever moving frontline”.
Fellow photographer, Christine Nesbitt-Hills, said it was highly unlikely than on his release, Hammerl’s equipment would be returned to him. Chances are, she said, it would be stolen by his captors.
“This work is Anton’s livelihood, and we hope can contribute towards the costs of getting Anton back to photography on his return. For example, it’s unlikely that he’ll return from Libya with his photographic equipment and as a freelancer, this will be Anton’s responsibility to replace in order to work again.”
She said it was her personal opinion that it would be “good for Anton’s images to be published in the normal way while he’s detained. As a freelancer myself, I’m aware of all the implications of maintaining expensive camera and computer gear. I know tough times will be ahead if Anton comes home without gear”.
The African Media Online gallery of Hammerl’s Libya work can be seen at:
Photographer friends are offering their work free of rights so long the photographs are used to continue drawing attention to the plight of the South African photojournalist. The Free Anton Hammerl photo collection contains images of Anton, the demonstrations in Cape Town and Joburg, and the vigils in Johannesburg and London.
If anyone would like to use these images, email Christine Nesbitt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the meantime, South African photographer Jodi Bieber, who won the World Press Photo award this year, used the opportunity, when she was presented with her award in Amsterdam on Saturday night, to appeal to the international community to keep his name alive. “I urge you to write about this. By writing about him, we’ll keep him alive,” she told the audience.