In late October, João Silva, a South African veteran photojournalist on contract with The New York Times stepped on a land mine while accompanying American soldiers patrolling an area near the town of Arghandab in southern Afghanistan. Despite immediate help from medics, both his legs were lost below the knees.
Immediately following the incident, João’s longtime friend, photographer Greg Marinovich, created a gallery of prints for sale on his PhotoShelter site to help support João. While The New York Times is covering João’s medical expenses, Greg is gathering funds from the community to support João’s long term needs.
The idea came up to take the effort a step further by setting up an entire website to sell João’s prints and help raise funds. We donated an account and photojournalist/web designer David Brabyn donated the design and configuration work. Together, David and Greg worked very quickly to gather some of João’s best work and design a website around it – that website launches today. Please take a look and consider helping out.
You’ll find powerful recent work by João from Lebanon, Iraq, and Malawi in addition to João’s vintage images from South Africa in the 1990’s.
João represents the thousands of photojournalists who place themselves in great danger to ensure stories can be told with powerful visuals. When you learn even just a little bit about João’s character, the things he has seen and done and accomplished – especially the powerful impact of the images he’s captured throughout his career – you can immediately understand why the photography community has rallied to support his recovery.
“Those of you who know João will not be surprised to learn that throughout this ordeal he continued to shoot pictures,” wrote Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, in a memo to staff.
From Greg’s blog: “João Silva is the most talented and courageous contemporary conflict photographer. Bar none.”
More background from PDN: “The Portuguese-born Silva, 44, has been based in Johannesburg throughout his career. He has covered conflicts in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East, Iraq and elsewhere. He is the co-author, with Greg Marinovich, of The Bang-Bang Club, about the work of photojournalists covering ethnic violence in South Africa before the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. He has won awards from World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International, and other honors.”
João has been a contract photographer for The Times since 2000, he is also an avid motorcyclist, a husband to Viv and a father to two young children, Isabel and Gabriel.
We wish João strength in his recovery.