The South African photojournalist was shot by troops loyal to Qaddafi
South African photographer Anton Hammerl at work east of Brega, March 31
I never knew Anton Hammerl, who went missing along with our own Clare Gillis and two other journalists on April 5 a few miles outside of Brega, then the front line of fighting between Libyan rebels and Muammar Qaddafi's regime, the latter of which claimed to have detained the group for some arbitrary offense. But I would think of him often over the next 45 days, asking after his status in our many frustrating, fruitless conversations with regime representatives and intermediaries, relaying what snippets of rumor and hearsay I had onto his family, which found itself mostly in the dark.
Though enormously talented, he had traveled to Libya on his own, planning to send his photos back to his wife in London, who would in turn sell them to news agencies as she cared for their three children. Without a formal organization back home looking after him, and with the government of his native South Africa too indifferent, incompetent, and increasingly supportive of Qaddafi to bother pestering their Libyan counterparts, Hammerl had few advocates. His family lobbied relentlessly, sometimes aggressively, driven by a clear sense that something was wrong. The other three journalists had been allowed to call home at least once. Why hadn't Anton? In early May, they organized a rally on his behalf in Johannesburg.