LCC was extremely saddened to hear of the death in Libya of alumnus Jeroen Oerlemans on Sunday 2 October. Professor of Documentary Photography, Patrick Sutherland, shares his memories of Jeroen and pays tribute to his career.

The photojournalist Jeroen Oerlemans, an alumnus of the LCC Postgraduate Diploma in Photojournalism, was killed by a sniper in the Libyan city of Sirte on Sunday 2 October. Oerlemans was 45 years old and leaves a wife and three children. He had spent much of his photographic career in conflict zones in Afghanistan, Haiti, Pakistan and most of the countries of the Middle East. His photographs were published widely in Newsweek, Time, The Guardian, The Sunday Times and many others.

Oerlemans was represented by the agency Panos in London and by Hollandse Hoogte in the Netherlands. He was killed while reporting for the Belgian weekly Knack. In July 2012, Oerlemans and another photographer, John Cantlie, were kidnapped by militants in northern Syria. They were eventually freed by fighters from the Free Syrian Army.

I remember Jeroen from the class of 1999. I thought of him as typically Dutch. He was tall, sociable and easy going. He was also bright, funny and energetic and became a key member of that year’s student group. I can clearly recall his project on a church-funded scheme helping drug addicts in Rotterdam. His photographs were raw, direct and unflinching. He had a strong commitment to visual journalism, a belief in the power of photojournalistic images to tell important stories. His work was marked by intelligence and empathy. He will be sorely missed.

Words by Patrick Sutherland
Professor of Documentary Photography

Photograph: Twitter