Tyler Hicks’ Lens

Tyler Hicks captures daily life for American soldiers in Afghanistan. (Photo by Tyler Hicks/The New York Times)

It’s common for Westporters to see Tyler Hicks’ photo credit in the New York Times.  The Staples graduate — and Pulitzer Prize winner — travels the globe, shooting searing, thought-provoking, even action-compelling images in every hot spot from Iraq to New Orleans.

Now he’s on the other side of the view finder.

The Times’ “Lens” blog — which combines the best photos and videos with intriguing back stories — has focused on Hicks’ most recent work in Afghanistan. Headlined “Into the Maw at Marja,” it’s a harrowing look at the ground and air war in that vicious land.

The story begins:

“Using one another as pillows, like a family huddled together for warmth in a house without heat, most of the Marines were catching a little sleep before their mission was to begin. But one sat wide awake at the edge of their huddle.

Tyler Hicks caught this quiet moment.

“Another Marine gazed at a snapshot of himself and his wife. The picture’s tattered edge conveyed how well traveled it was. And how often it was so lovingly examined.

“Mr. Hicks was there.

“Along with members of Company K, Third Battalion, Sixth Marines, Mr. Hicks, a staff photographer for The Times, was preparing to go into battle.

I have to carry cameras, lenses, a laptop, satellite transmitter, chargers, batteries and cables. I bring duplicates of some chargers in case one shorts out because if I can’t charge, then I can’t file my pictures. A sleeping bag, enough clothes to stay relatively warm, three days of food and water. I also wear body armor, a helmet, protective goggles and some first aid gear — pressure bandages and tourniquets, mostly. Things begin to get heavy.

It’s harrowing stuff.  Click here to read more — and to view some never-before-seen photos of a war Westporters don’t often think about.

But one that Afghans, soldiers — and Tyler Hicks — live every day.

18 responses to “Tyler Hicks’ Lens

  1. The Dude Abides

    God Bless Tyler but war is hell. I always wondered about the cameramen on “The Deadliest Catch.” Is it really worth it??
    God’s speed. CAS

  2. yes, it is worth it.

  3. The Dude Abides

    How is it worth it? The bucks, the fame, the risk? Jeez, I was in the war zone for 81/2 months in ‘Nam and no thanks. I am being curious is all.

  4. I have to admire Tyler’s fearlessness amidst danger and amazing pictures under such conditions.
    He not only gets the photos (while under attack) but the pictures are also amazingly composed and shot. Wow!
    It’s a tough assignment but he excels at what he does!

  5. it is worth it: because of these and similiar photographs published, we, a.k.a., those of us not there, are reminded that our troops are enabling our country to make a significant and important investment in another country, in our own country, etc.

  6. The Dude Abides

    That sounds alittle idealistic Anonymous. For one thing, I don’t think the majority of Americans even look at a newspaper or know we are at war or worse, care!
    Second, as with Vietnam, what is the return on this investment? Another screwed up generation? Because we were sold the same bill of goods with ‘Nam and 58,000 died so they could have Coca-Cola plants over there.
    And lastly, I don’t need the television broadcaster to stand out in the hurricane to
    know that it is blowing like hell. I can see disabled vets all about.
    God’s speed to Tyler but I wish he would take pictures of the sunsets over Compo instead or better yet, the troops were home and he could take some of them lying around at Compo this summer.

  7. Pingback: Lynsey Addario’s Lens « 06880

  8. you are wrong and sounding a bit sensationalistic, because:

    the majority of americans are aware that we are at war and while less and less are reading newspapers most are – on a daily basis – watching a news program and reading the internet news headlines;

    the roi via vietnam efforts could have been greater if the media spent as much time and space as they do now showing all aspects of our troops efforts and not just the most ‘attention grabbing’ and controversial, and

    i know a number of vietnam veterans who, while they understand the perceptions and give some weight to the opinions of the people who were not there, absolutely value the work they did there.

  9. The Dude Abides

    I don’t think it is question of right or wrong. Wars don’t work anymore and haven’t since
    World War II e.g. Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. If you had watched Representative Kennedy rage on the floor of the House yesterday, you would realize that the media is not giving much attention to either war. At least with Vietnam, it was on the tube
    every night. Perhaps that is why we had so many protests unlike now. Further, while there are many of us Vietnam Veterans who think we did some good over there for 15 years, why don’t you ask the families and friends of the 58,000 that died over there? Dan Woog is doing a piece on the dissatisfaction of the veterans of the war in Friday’s News. Further, please don’t wave the patriotic flag on the efforts of Mr Hicks. I am sure he is a courageous and accomplished young man. But I would bet he is an adrenaline junkie like most war correspondents. By the way, have you served your country? I would take big odds that you have not. Enough said.

  10. don’t be so presumptuous: i have served my country working for the US State Department overseas; i have worked in ‘confict’ as well as post-conflict zones.

    and, again, your presumptuous’ness: it is fair to say that a respectable number of the 58k who lost friends and family in vietnam are proud of thier intent and contributions, albeit wish they had not lost thier lives.

  11. Woodstock Gal

    Whoa guys! The testosterone is sky rocketing. I was with you Dude until you agreed with Anonymous on “the good” coming out of Vietnam. Nothing good came out of that war but the following:
    (1) 62,000 dead and another 100,000 wounded;
    (2) 1.2 Vietnamese dead. Countless others maimed for life;
    (3) Vietnam is still Communist. We lost.
    (4) The war destroyed the Kennedy-Johnson
    agenda including the war on poverty;
    (5) Kent State and a polarization that still remains today;
    (6) Richard Nixon;
    (7) About a few thousand other negative things and no good ones.

    Wake up brothers. Peace.

  12. The Dude Abides

    Anonymous: I commend your “service” to your country. I was an attorney with the Treasury Department for 8 years and I didn’t think of it as “service.” Until you have smelled napalm in the morning, or awakened with a leech in your nostril or seen the dead flesh drip from your comrades, you ain’t been there. You be just a suit. As to the sentiments of the families who lost their kids in any war, head down to the Vietnam Wall some weekend. You will get an earful and a heartful. And it doesn’t jive with your observation. Most are bitter and angry still. You been reading too many policy statements. Ask our hero Tyler, he has the seen the soul of war and it is hell.

  13. though you are right that i have never had a leech in my nose, you are way too presumptuous – again – about what i have seen and been exposed to while in the field.

  14. The Dude Abides

    Since you are anonymous, I guess I must be presumptuous. Read “Woog’s World” today in the “Westport News.” I think my fellow classmate Steve Doig aptly describes it in one of the quotes. My thought is there are a lot of chicken hawks out there who can’t wait to send young men off to die. Two died yesterday. Page 6 of “USA Today.” Who saw that? Bring back the draft or mandatory service for all 18 year olds and you will see many of these wars avoided. Until then, your views seem to be in the majority. As Churchill once said Anonymous, “I never learned a damn thing from anybody who agreed with me.” Come home safe Tyler!

  15. forget the draft, you only want people going who are going for the right reasons, and that includes an understanding of the risks.

  16. The Dude Abides

    Are you kidding me? There are a ton of kids avoiding jail that are entering the service now because judges are mandating their enlistment. I am not sure why you are so big on “service” to our country and then restrict it to only those who want to or have to. Make it mandatory for everyone to serve their country in some form or another. Military or community. Then you will see some real patriotism and not just this flag waving stuff on the 4th!
    P.S. The generals agree with you, however.

  17. restrict military service to only those that want to, because it’s the quality of service that is important, i.e., our military isn’t just there to ‘aim & fire’.

    that said, are individuals who were otherwise headed to jail the best military ambassadors that our country has? sounds more like a mariel boatlift, i.e., not likely to help US achieve the long term goals that are the objectives of the international interventions.

  18. The Dude Abides

    Anonymous: A guy said to me at Mario’s the other night: “We can’t afford health care.” My response: “We can afford two wars at about 15 billion a month and a 135 billion bailout to the bankers but we can afford to take care of our own.” Sounds like alittle “jacked up” to me. Maybe we can elect Sarah and find then find some beach front property in Hait? Peace. Gots two feet of water in my basement.