Ever since the death of his friend and colleague Tim Hetherington, who — along with Getty’s Chris Hondros — was killed in a mortar attack in Libya in April 2011, Sebastian Junger has been advocating for increased medical training for freelance journalists.
“Most journalists who have salaried jobs get medical training, but freelancers are completely independent and often find themselves in very exposed places,” Junger tells TIME. “They fall between the cracks.” A filmmaker, best-selling author and the founder of a nonprofit, Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (RISC), Junger was inspired to get involved in the fight to save freelancers’ lives after talking with a combat medical officer about Hetherington’s death. The CMO told him that Hetherington could probably have survived his injuries if his colleagues on the scene had had first aid training. Junger resolved to do something to try and help others avoid his friend’s fate.
Junger created RISC in 2012 and has trained close to 200 freelance journalists in the sort of simple and essential medical skills — tying a tourniquet, carrying an injured person to safety, etc. — that, in the field, can mean the difference between life and death.
This year, RISC is holding a benefit auction of photographic prints to raise money to help pay for the training it provides. (Each training session costs $24,000 for 24 New York-based students; overseas sessions cost $36,000.)
This year, 46 photographers have donated prints for the auction, with bids accepted from Nov. 19 until Dec. 3, when the charity will hold a live event at the Aperture gallery in New York City.
Junger hopes to raise $200,000 to sustain the organization and train more than 70 freelance journalists in 2015. “We’re sort of putting it all together each year, and we know we won’t make all of it at the auction,” he says. “But the auction is one way to raise a bit more.”
For more information about RISC, visit the RISC website. The online auction is hosted by Paddle8, with the live event taking place on Dec. 3. Tickets are available now.