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Sierra Leone’s 2004 civil war left many with serious medical conditions, including blindness. People had their eyes cut out by fighters, others lost their sight to shrapnel or combat.

A selection of portraits of young men and women at the Milton Margai School for the Blind in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Photographer Tim Hetherington was a champion of the Milton Margai School for the Blind. He wrote, “While exploring for myself the shades, textures, and shapes that exist in the lives of the children… I have found that… they learn to live with blindness and to survive in their respective environment while seeking an education and guidance that will help them throughout their lives…. Many of them have an intense desire to communicate their experience and connect with people outside their day-to-day lives.”

“Inner Light: Portraits of the Blind, Sierra Leone 1999- 2003” will be on view at Yossi Milo Gallery New York beginning April 11, 2013, through May 18.

All images used with permission, © Tim Hetherington, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York.

Born in 1970 in Liverpool, Tim Hetherington graduated from Oxford University and later studied at Cardiff University. A contributing photographer at Vanity Fair, Tim received numerous awards including a Fellowship from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (2000–2004), a Hasselblad Foundation Grant (2002), the 2007 World Press Photo of the Year, the Rory Peck Award for Features (2008), an Alfred I. DuPont Columbia Award (2009), as well as an Academy Award nomination and the Leadership in Entertainment Award by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America for the film Restrepo (2011). Hetherington’s photographs are held in several museum collections, including Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Mo. After his death, the largest town square in Ajdabiya, Libya was renamed Tim Hetherington Square by anti-Qaddafi rebels.


Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded TMN with publisher Andrew Womack in 1999. His latest book is Everything Now: Lessons From the City-State of Los Angeles. More information can be found at More by Rosecrans Baldwin