Tag Archives: obituary

My Friend Neil

A Tribute To Neil Patience

It’s with immense sadness that I share the unjust news that my friend Neil Patience passed away yesterday evening (August 20th, 2014). I’ve only known Neil for just over four years; it began as a professional relationship when he reached out to discuss DSLR video. It was a collaboration of photographer turned film maker and a video editor at the top of his game; he was always looking to innovate and move forward with technological changes; a change which brought many photographers to also shooting video.

Neil Patience wearing his "Mankini" T-shirt (designed by me as a joke). Kew Grill, Kew. October 22, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Neil Patience wearing his “Mankini” T-shirt (designed by me as a joke). Kew Grill, Kew. October 22, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Very quickly though, in fact from Neil’s second email to me, I realised what a man of quality he was; funny, professional, honest and generous, and that I was going to really like him. Sure enough, I’m proud to say we became friends and I was introduced to his amazing family; Tara and little Millie, his sister Sara, along with his great circle of friends.

RNOH behind the scenes shots for filming of the fund raising film. Operating Theatre 4 with Prof Tim Briggs. Neil Patience prepares the professor for the interview. September 21, 2011. Photo: Nicola Taylor

RNOH behind the scenes shots for filming of the fund raising film. Operating Theatre 4 with Prof Tim Briggs. Neil Patience prepares the professor for the interview. September 21, 2011. Photo: Nicola Taylor

Our biggest collaboration, and a project of which I am so very proud was making a fund raising film for the RNOH (Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital). The hospital and an amazing surgeon, Professor Tim Briggs, had saved his life around ten years ago and Neil was keen to give back, donating his time for producing, co-directong and editing the film as his thank you. We were both very proud to screen the film at it’s premiere at St James’s Palace at an event hosted by the hospital’s patron, HRH Prince Andrew. I urge you to watch the film and go and make a small donation to the hospital charity. It will make Neil happy to know you helped.

Watching Neil video editing was like watching a concert pianist in full swing. His hands and fingers moving with speed and grace over the timeline, constructing narrative, making cuts, laying down audio and making it all flow and move like the work of the best composers. I learnt so much by spending a few days in the editing suite with Neil. A true master of his craft; an editor and colourist, and an amazingly generous and patient teacher.

Behind the scenes photographs of the filming of the appeal film. Producer and editor Neil Patience and ex-patient Phil Packer. RNOH, Stanmore. Photo: Nicola Taylor

Behind the scenes photographs of the filming of the appeal film. Producer and editor Neil Patience and ex-patient Phil Packer. RNOH, Stanmore. Photo: Nicola Taylor

Neil showed me what spirit was; the last ten years hadn’t been easy and even more so the last year and a half, had been particularly cruel to him. He never let this bother him, instead rising above it all and just moving forwards, great sense of humour intact. Neil was also completely selfless; laying in bed, a couple of days before losing consciousness, he turned to me and asked what I was going to do now; I knew he meant now that he will no longer be around. He was so concerned, out of compassion and love for what we did, that our collaboration, TAP TV would not cope. It will miss your immense talent my friend and will never be the same, but don’t worry about that 🙂

Editing the fund raising video for RNOH at New Day Pictures' editing suite in Surrey. Assistant Nicola Taylor and video editor Neil Patience at work.  November 08, 2011. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Editing the fund raising video for RNOH at New Day Pictures’ editing suite in Surrey. Assistant Nicola Taylor and video editor Neil Patience at work. November 08, 2011. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Having shed my tears over Neil leaving this world far too early, for he had projects and plans in mind, living life to the full, fighting and showing courage and determination, my tears and deep condolences go to his daughter Millie, wife Tara and sister Sara, followed by his circle of friends with whom he shared so many adventures.

I will miss you chief.

Addendum:

The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Appeal have written this wonderful tribute for Neil.

Devastating Loss

RIP Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington

We have lost so much. Yesterday, the 20th of April 2011, was a very dark day. The world lost two very passionate, courageous and dedicated journalists; photographer Chris Hondros from Getty Images and photographer and film maker Tim Hetherington who was with Panos Pictures.

They were more than our friends and colleagues. They were the voices of those who needed to be heard and our eyes to help us see places where we were not brave enough to go to. The world and those who need to be heard, lost a huge deal yesterday.

Amsterdam, 23-04-2006 Awards ceremony van de World Press Photo in de Oude Kerk. L-R: Chris Hondros, Mohamad Azakir, Ben Smith and Edmond Terakopian with their awards for the Spot News and Spot News Stories categories. Photo: Bastiaan Heus

I had the honour to know both Chris and Tim a little. I had met Chris for the first time in Amsterdam when we went to the World Press Photo awards ceremony. He had won second place in the Spot News category with the most heartbreaking and powerful image of a poor girl crying after her parents were killed by the US military in Iraq when their car didn’t stop when ordered to. It was an amazing image that shook anybody who saw it, leaving most teary eyed. I also met Chris again at a World Press Photo event at the University of Southern California where we got trapped along with all the other photographers there to present their work, in an elevator which had got stuck for 25 minutes. It was very funny! I won’t pretend we were close friends and alas we never worked together but these two meetings showed me that Chris was an amazing man; truly dedicated and extremely caring. I have constantly been amazed by the strength of his powerful work. He produced some stunning images in Libya on the day he was killed.

Photographer Tim A. Hetherington among rebel fighters of Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) at their frontline headquarters in Tubmanberg. Photo: Tim Hetherington / Panos Pictures

Unfortunately I only met Tim once; I went to see him talk once and we had an extremely interesting conversation afterwards; it was as if we had been friends for years – in fact one of the people in teh group thought we were after listening to us. So extremely likeable, so amazingly modest and exceptionally dedicated. His talent at communicating with the still image or video goes without say. His photographs from Afghanistan, especially the World Press Winning image from 2007 just left me in awe. An image from such a dark place but so much like a poem.

When I read this terrible news from our photographers’ page on Facebook I froze. It said Tim had passed away and Chris was possibly deceased too. I have no shame in admitting that this horrific news left me crying and tearful. When it became clear that Chris had also succumbed to his terrible head wound, it was just devastating.

It’s always hard loosing colleagues. It’s hard enough finding out that a colleague has been hurt. To find out that two dear people that you know, admire and respect have been killed is just……….

Our entire community of photographers is shaken to it’s core. A candle was lit in memory at St Bride’s Church in Fleet Street. Our forums and Tweets are filled with messages of sadness, grief…..such a sour feeling. Tears, silence, disbelief.

I had recorder Restrepo when it was first shown on the National Geographic channel. For various reasons I had just never found the time to see it. Last night, teary eyed and shaken, I found the time Tim. It was so nice to hear your gentle voice as you spoke to the soldiers. I wish I could say this to you face to face; it was a magnificent film; bravo.

A day before it all ended for Tim, he made his last Tweet: “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.”

All I wish is that neither of you amazing gentlemen suffered yesterday. I hope you didn’t feel a thing. My thoughts are with you, your families and you friends. You shone as human beings. I hope you rest in peace.

Diary (2010) from Tim Hetherington on Vimeo.

‘Diary’ is a highly personal and experimental film that expresses the subjective experience of my work, and was made as an attempt to locate myself after ten years of reporting. It’s a kaleidoscope of images that link our western reality to the seemingly distant worlds we see in the media.

Camera + Directed by Tim Hetherington

Edit + Sound design by Magali Charrier

19′ 08 / 2010