Anton Hammerl left home one Monday afternoon. He never came back.
Anton, a South African photojournalist and photographer, travelled from the U.K. to Libya in early 2011 to cover the nation’s civil war, part of a wave of pro-democracy uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa known as the Arab Spring.
On April 5, days after arriving in Libya, Anton and three other journalists came under fire while covering the conflict from forces loyal to the nation’s ruler, Colonel Gaddafi. Anton was shot and critically wounded. The other three ― James Foley, Claire Gillis and Manu Brabo ― were captured and detained.
In the following days, Anton’s family was led to believe that he was still alive and campaigned for his release. They discovered on May 19 that Anton had been killed more than a month before. A decade on, there’s still been no investigation into his death.
Born in 1969, Anton had an interest in photography from an early age and went on to work as a photojournalist and editor at major publications The Star and Saturday Star after studying journalism at college.
At the start of his career, Anton was mentored by Bang Bang Club member Ken Oosterbroek, one of four photojournalists who came to prominence covering the violent township protests that characterised the closing years of apartheid in South Africa. Anton later went freelance, taking on assignments for AP, Reuters and other international agencies. He moved with his family in 2006 to London.
Anton won numerous prestigious awards for his work, including the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass, the Abdul Shariff Humanitarian Photographer of the Year, Mondi Shanduka Photographer of the Year and the Fuji Africa News Image of the Year.
Here is a selection of Anton’s work below. See this link to watch the launch of our #JusticeforAnton campaign on April 1 2021 with Doughty Street Chambers. Anton’s widow Penny also wrote about her experiences for the Sunday Times ZA in April 2021 and addressed the United Nations Humans Rights Council about the #JusticeforAnton campaign in July 2021.
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