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A new book, Photographs Not Taken, conceived and edited by photographer Will Steacy compiles personal essays written by more than 60 photographers about a time when they didn’t or just couldn’t use their camera.

The book, released by Daylight, is a fascinating compilation by a wide cross-section of image makers from around the world and is often filled with thoughts of regret, restraint and poignant self-realizations.

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of Tim Hetherington’s tragic death in Misrata, Libya, we present one of the most eloquent chapters from the book, in which the photographer offers his thoughts on depicting the dead in photographs and the questioning moment he had after making a picture of a dead soldier in Afhganistan:

There are many reasons not to take a picture—especially if you find the
 act of making pictures difficult. I was not brought up with a camera, I
 had no early fascination for pictures, no romantic encounters with the 
darkroom—in fact I didn’t become a photographer until much later on 
in life when I came to realize that photography—especially documentary 
photography—had many possibilities. One thing for sure was that
 it would make me confront any inherent shyness that I might feel. It
 did, but I still find making pictures difficult, especially negotiating and 
confronting “the other,” the subject, and dealing with my own motivations
 and feelings about that process.

This personal debate about making pictures was particularly apparent 
during the years I lived and worked in West Africa. In 2003 I lived as one 
of the only outsiders with a rebel group that was attempting to overthrow 
then-President Charles Taylor. It was a surreal experience—cut off
 and living in the interior of the country, I accompanied a rag-tag army 
of heavily armed young men as they fought their way from the interior 
forest into the outskirts of the capital, Monrovia. Reaching the edges of
the city was an exhilarating experience after weeks of living in a derelict 
front-line town with little food. At one point, the rebels took over the
 beer factory and, after liberating its supplies, turned part of the facility 
into a field hospital where people with gunshot wounds were treated 
with paracetamol. Outside the factory compound lay about five bodies 
of people who, from the look of things, had been executed. A number 
had their hands tied behind their backs and most had been shot in the
 head and, despite the graphic nature, I had no qualms about making 
some photographs of these people.

Not long after, government forces counterattacked to push the rebels out 
of the city. Everyone was exhausted from the lack of sleep and constant 
fighting, and the retreat quickly turned into a disorganized scramble
 to get out of the city. Soldiers commandeered looted vehicles, and I 
even remember one dragging a speedboat behind it in the stampede 
to escape. To make matters worse, government soldiers were closing in
on the escape route and began firing from different directions on the 
convoy of vehicles. One rocket-propelled grenade took out a car behind
ours, and at one point we abandoned our vehicles and took shelter in a
nearby group of houses. I began seriously considering abandoning the rebels and heading out on my own toward the coastline on foot, but luckily thought better of it and got back inside the car with the group I was with.

The road slowly wound its way away from the low-slung shacks of
 the suburbs and back into the lush green forest. Our close-knit convoy 
started to thin a little as some cars sped out ahead while others, laden 
with people and booty, took their time. The landscape slid by as I tried
 to come down and calm my mind from the earlier events—I was in a
 heightened state of tension, tired, hungry, and aware that I was totally 
out of control of events. Just as I started to feel the euphoria of being
 alive, our car slowed in the commotion of a traffic jam. A soft-topped 
truck up ahead that was carrying about 30 civilians had skidded as it
 went around a corner and turned over on itself. A number of people 
had been killed and wounded—probably having the same thoughts of 
relief that I had before calamity struck. Now they were dead and their 
squashed bodies were being carried out from the wreckage. Someone 
asked me if I was going to photograph this—but I was too far gone to be
able to attempt any recording of the event. I couldn’t think straight, let 
alone muster the energy needed to make a picture. I just watched from 
a distance as people mourned and carried away the dead. My brain was
 like a plate of scrambled eggs.

There isn’t much more to add, but I always remember that day and the 
feeling of being so empty—physically, mentally, and spiritually—that it
 was impossible to make the photograph.

Years later, when I put together a book about those events in Liberia, I
 included a photograph of one of the people who had been killed outside 
of the beer factory. I thought it was an important picture but didn’t
 dwell on what it might mean for the mother of that boy to come across 
it printed in a book. My thoughts about this resurfaced recently as I put
 together a new book about a group of American soldiers I spent a lot of 
time with in Afghanistan. They reminded me a lot of the young Liberian 
rebel fighters, and yet, when I came to selecting a picture of one of their
 dead in the battlefield, I hesitated and wondered if printing a graphic 
image was appropriate. It was an image I had made of a young man 
shot in the head after the American lines had been overrun—not dissimilar
 from the one in Liberia. My hesitation troubled me. Was I sensitive
 this time because the soldier wasn’t a nameless African? Perhaps I had 
changed and realized that there should be limits on what is released 
into the public? I certainly wouldn’t have been in that questioning position 
if I’d never taken the photograph in the first place….but I did, and 
perhaps these things are worth thinking about and confronting after all.

—Tim Hetherington

Tim Hetherington (1970-2011) was a British-American photographer and 
filmmaker. His artwork ranged from digital projections and fly-poster exhibitions to handheld-device downloads. Hetherington published two monographs, Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold (Umbrage Editions, 2009), 
and Infidel (Chris Boot, 2010). His Oscar-nominated 
film Restrepo, about young men at war in Afghanistan, was also released in 2010.
 Tragically, Hetherington was killed while covering the 2011 Libyan civil war.

Photographs Not Taken also features work by Roger Ballen, Ed Kashi, Mary Ellen Mark, Alec Soth, Peter van Agtmael and many others. More information about the book and how to purchase it is available here

On April 22, 2012 from 2:00-4:00pm, MoMA PS1, located in Queens, NY, will host a a panel discussion with contributors Nina Berman, Gregory Halpern, Will Steacy, Amy Stein, moderated by Daylight founders Michael Itkoff and Taj Forer.

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Like much of West Africa, Liberia is a country of dark, heavy skies emerging from bloody civil war. But like everywhere else in West Africa, there’s also much more to the place — elements that make it unlike any other. A street friendliness that all but snuffs out Monrovia’s reputation for street violence. A patois that is both thuggish and warm. Strange points of excellence, like an ambition to become the first biomass-powered country in the world or the proud possession of some of the world’s best surfing breaks.

Liberia’s history is particularly arresting. The country was created in the 1820s by former American slaves shipped back to Africa by philanthropists who purchased their freedom — hence Liberia — only to watch their freed charges, dressed in top hats and hoop skirts, exploit the local population. It’s a tale that holds some hard lessons about human nature, and charity, and has divided the country between locals and Americos ever since. After more than a century of oppression, in 1989, the indigenous population staged a coup that led to two civil wars, the second of which ended in 2003. The fighting displaced a third of the country and left 200,000 dead. In a country of just 3 million, no one was untouched.

Glenna Gordon has been documenting Liberia since 2009. She made her latest collection of images during the run-up and aftermath of last October’s general election. In the images, she tries to present “a wider view of Liberia as neither a place filled with mythically strong women led by the cult of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,” who won the Nobel Peace Prize days before the poll and is due to be inaugurated for a second term today, “nor merely a post-civil-war success/failure story.”

Johnson Sirleaf’s opponent was Winston Tubman, the nephew of the former President William Tubman, himself a grandson of a former American slave. During his nearly three decades in power, from 1944 to ’71, William Tubman ushered in massive foreign investment. One of the things Gordon examines most closely is America’s historical, cultural and economic legacy in Liberia. “I seek out signs of a time before the conflict — remnants of the past that are easy to romanticize today,” Gordon says. “I seek traces of war wounds — psychological and physical — and examine the improvisations used to hide the pain … and embrace the present.”

Gordon has been photographing and writing about Africa for various publications since 2006, including TIME. You can see more of her work on her website and blog.

Perry is TIMEs Africa bureau chief. His latest book Lifeblood: How to Change the World, One Dead Mosquito at a Time was published in September.

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mikejuk writes "Stanford University is offering the online world more of its undergraduate level CS courses. These free courses consist of You Tube videos with computer-marked quizzes and programming assignments. The ball had been started rolling by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig's free online version of their Stanford AI class, for which they hoped to reach an audience in the order of a hundred thousand, a target which they seem to have achieved. As well as the previously announced Machine learning course you can now sign up to any of: Computer Science 101, Software as a Service, Human-Computer Interaction, Natural Language Processing, Game Theory, Probabilistic Graphical Models, Cryptography and Design and Analysis of Algorithms. Almost a complete computer science course and they are adding more. Introductory videos and details are available from each courses website."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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SPIDER-MAN
SPIDER-MAN: Owen Kew, 5 years old, of Reading, England, used the ‘spider’ during a physical-therapy session Tuesday to treat a neurological disorder. (Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters)

CRASHING IN
CRASHING IN: Surf crashed in a restaurant as workers tried to close the doors in Cagnes sur Mer, France, Tuesday. (Maxppp/Zuma Press)

TAKING A BREAK
TAKING A BREAK: An election worker slept next to a ballot box in an empty polling station in Monrovia, Liberia, Tuesday. Turnout for the presidential runoff, which the opposition boycotted, was low. (Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press)

MAKING LIGHT
MAKING LIGHT: Electric lines crossed a transmission tower that was built to resemble a clown near Újhartyán, Hungary, Tuesday. (Attila Manek/European Pressphoto Agency)

POLITICAL CHANGE
POLITICAL CHANGE: From left, Robert Biedron, Poland’s first openly gay lawmaker, spoke with Anna Grodzka, Poland’s first transsexual lawmaker, during the first session of the Polish Parliament in Warsaw Tuesday. (Peter Andrews/Reuters)

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ELECTION VIOLENCE
ELECTION VIOLENCE: Men in Monrovia, Liberia, carried away a man who was wounded after police stormed the headquarters of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change with tear gas and live ammunition Monday. At least one person was killed a day before a presidential runoff. (Finbarr O’Reilly/Reuters)

TAKING IT EASY
TAKING IT EASY: A woman sat in her flooded house in the flooded Min Buri district of Bangkok, Thailand, Monday. (Rachen Sageamsak/Xinhua/)

PROTESTING IN KIEV
PROTESTING IN KIEV: People who helped clean up after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster protested against benefit cuts in front of a government building in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday. (Genya Savilov/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

PROSTRATE
PROSTRATE: Muslims prayed in New Delhi Monday for Eid al-Adha, the ‘Festival of Sacrifice,’ which is celebrated by slaughtering livestock. (Tsering Topgyal/Associated Press)

BUSINESS AS USUAL
BUSINESS AS USUAL: A man got a haircut at an open market in the Monastiraki district of Athens Monday. Greek politicians hit new roadblocks Monday in their race to name an interim administration as Prime Minister George Papandreou prepares to officially step down. (Petros Giannakouris/Associated Press)

AERIAL VIEW
AERIAL VIEW: A photo released Monday by the Spanish Civil Guard shows the spread of ash from an underwater volcano off the coast of the Spanish island of El Hierro, in the Canary Islands. (Spanish Civil Guard/European Pressphoto Agency)

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LINED UP
LINED UP: Workers loaded ballot boxes onto a truck in Monrovia, Liberia, Monday. Africa’s first democratically elected female president, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, will face stiff competition at the polls Tuesday. (Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press)

PLAZA PROTEST
PLAZA PROTEST: A demonstrator protesting war and corporate greed fixed his sleeping bag in a cardboard box on Freedom Plaza in Washington Monday. His protest group is separate from Occupy D.C., but both groups say they support each other. (Karen Bleier/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

BLIND FAITH
BLIND FAITH: Blind people demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Finance Monday in Athens against cuts to their allowances as part of austerity measures. (Louisa Gouliamaki/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

TOYS FOR SALE
TOYS FOR SALE: A vendor held up stuffed toys as he tried to lure customers at an outdoor market in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday. (Adek Berry/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

FINGER-LICKING TROUBLE
FINGER-LICKING TROUBLE: Customers lined up at ‘Obama Fried Chicken,’ opened by university students, in Beijing Sunday. The owners changed the name to ‘UFO’ amid trademark-infringement accusations from KFC, but kept the likeness of President Barack Obama in suspenders, which resembles KFC’s Colonel Sanders. (ChinaFotoPress/Zuma Press)

OPERATION
OPERATION: Doctor Evan Atar performed surgery on a youth in Kurmuk, Sudan, Monday. Mr. Atar says he has performed several amputations since war broke out last month between the Sudanese Armed Forces and fighters in Blue Nile state last month. (Hannah McNeish/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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