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The Last Testament of Chris Hondros

Searing images from a posthumously-released collection of war photography

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

When longtime Getty Images photographer Chris Hondros died in April 2011 after suffering shrapnel wounds in Libya, he left behind a fiancé, a close group of friends and collaborators and a body of work that established him as one of the most gifted photojournalists of the 21st century. His most powerful work has now been collected in Testament, out April 8th from PowerHouse books and Getty Images.

Hondros had the ability to capture the essence of his subjects, whether they were traumatized mothers, child soldiers or Americans "sent into harms way in unfamiliar lands," as he wrote for a 2010 exhibition in his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina. "I always try to keep my work focused on the people most impacted by these conflicts."

But his true skill was to show how emotions like pain, fear, and love are ubiquitous. "One of the ongoing themes in my work," said Hondros, "is a sense of human nature, a sense of shared humanity . . . We place these layers of ethnicity and culture on ourselves, and it really doesn’t mean that much compared to the human experience." 

What follows is a collection of images and accompanying captions from Testament. By Elisabeth Garber-Paul

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Kabul, Afghanistan, October 21st, 2010

An Afghan girl stands in the ruins of Darul Aman Palace. A group of Afghan Kuchi tribal nomads had settled into the palace several months earlier, under the protection of Afghan paramilitary police that used the ruins as a makeshift patrol base, after the nomads were driven from a nearby area in Kabul during a bout of ethnic riots that summer. The massive palace was built in the early 1920s as part of a modernizing push by Afghanistan's ruler at the time, but religious conservatives stymied the effort and the grandiose palace fell into disuse and later was shelled into ruins by warlords during the Afghan civil war of the early 1990s.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, January 25th, 2010

United Nations peacekeepers from Uruguay tend to a pregnant Haitian woman who had lost consciousness in a massive crowd during a rice distribution for earthquake displaced Haitians in front of the National Palace. Life in Haiti was transitioning to a new normal nearly two weeks after a powerful earthquake that delivered historic damage and death to Port-Au-Prince.