Here at Lowepro, we celebrate photography — and photographers everywhere. The images we enjoy give us glimpses into worlds we would never have personal access to. But one thing we tend to forget is the personal cost many photographers pay for bringing us these photographs.
This risk was dramatically driven home to us recently. On October 23rd, South African photographer João Silva lost both his legs after stepping on a land mine in Afghanistan. On assignment for the New York Times, his photographic coverage of the war had placed him once again in harms way. And while he has been in many war zones, from Africa to the Middle East and Iraq, this particular day has changed his life forever.
Described by long time friend and collaborator Greg Marinovich as “the most talented and courageous contemporary conflict photographer,” João is embarking on a very long road to recovery and will be faced with reinventing himself as a photographer. His immediate medical care is only the beginning of what he and his family will be facing.
This is not about the kind of gear he carries or which brand he prefers — I honestly don’t know or care. It’s about the dedication and fearlessness he epitomizes. We’ve heard first hand stories from a lot of our photographers about the challenges they face in the field: post-earthquake cholera, hepatitis and deadly fevers, floods, famine and war. We salute you all — and our hearts and best wishes go out especially at this time to João Silva and his family.
A web site has been donated by the folks at Photoshelter on João’s behalf to provide updates on his condition and take donations to help him and his family. If you’d like to help, please visit Support João Silva Photojournalist.
About João Silva: (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
João Silva (born August 9, 1966 in Lisbon, Portugal) is a war photographer based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was one of four people commonly associated with the The Bang-Bang Club, a group of photographers who covered South Africa from the time of Nelson Mendela’s release to the first elections in 1994. Silva has worked in Africa, the Balkans, Central Asia, Russia and the Middle East. His images have won numerous awards, including the World Press Photo.