Remembering Anton Hammerl and those he left behind

A group of renowned photojournalists have donated work for an auction to be held at Christie’s in New York on May 15 to support the children of South African photographer Anton Hammerl, who was killed by Muammar Gaddafi loyalists in Libya on April 5 last year.

The auction, to be hosted by CNN reporter Christiana Amanpour, hopes to highlight the dangerous work undertaken by photojournalists.

Included in the auction are works by South African photojournalists Roger Ballen, Jodi Beiber and Joao Silva, as well as international photographers Sebastiao Salgado, Alec Soth, Gilles Peress and renowned portrait artist Platon.

The International Centre of Photography has donated a World War II print by Robert Capa, who was killed by a landmine in Indochina in 1954.

Spanish photojournalist Manu Brabo, who – along with journalists Clare Gillis and James Foley – was captured and held by Gaddafi’s forces during the same attack that led to Hammerl’s death, has also donated work.

The Friends of Anton collective, who have organised the auction, was formed after Hammerl’s disappearance in April last year. It aims to help Hammerl’s young children. The auction is also supported by the international organisation Reporters Without Borders.

Hammerl was a former picture editor and chief photographer for the Saturday Star.

He was mentored by the late Ken Oosterbroek, member of the acclaimed South African ‘Bang Bang Club’, and worked for the Associated Press, the Sunday Independent, Reuters and the Star.

He moved to London in 2006 where he became a freelance photographer, photographing both news and corporate work. He had gone to cover the fighting in Libya in late March as a freelancer.

The Libyan government, as well as South African foreign affairs officials, insisted that Hammerl was alive after his disappearance but 144 days later his fate was revealed by Brabo, Gillis and Foley on their release.

He is survived by his wife Penny Sukraj and three young children.

For more about the auction and the Friends of Anton collective, see the official website.

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Lisa Van Wyk
Lisa van Wyk is the arts editor, which somehow justifies her looking at pretty pictures all day, reading cool art and culture blogs and having the messiest desk in the office. She likes people who share her passion for art, music, food, wine, travel and all things Turkish. She can't ride a bike, but she can read ancient languages and totally understands the offside rule.

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