João Silva (photographer)
João Silva (born August 9, 1966) is a war photographer based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is the last working member of the Bang-Bang Club, a group of photographers who covered South Africa from the time of Nelson Mandela's release to the first elections in 1994. Silva has worked in Africa, the Balkans, Central Asia, Russia, and the Middle East. On 23 October 2010, Silva stepped on a landmine while on patrol with US soldiers in Kandahar, Afghanistan and lost his left leg below the knee, and his right leg above it.
João Silva was first employed as a photographer by the Alberton Record. While working for the paper, João managed to convince the editors to let him cover the violence in Thokoza. He soon started to submit photographs to Reuters before resigning from the paper in order to freelance full-time. Soon after he began to supply pictures to The Star as well as Reuters.
Silva accompanied Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Carter to Sudan on the occasion when Carter took his photograph of a child and vulture. In an interview with Japanese journalist and writer Akio Fujiwara that was published in Fujiwara's book The Boy who Became a Postcard (絵葉書にされた少年 - Ehagaki ni sareta shōnen). According to Silva, Carter and Silva travelled to Sudan with the United Nations aboard Operation Lifeline Sudan and landed in Southern Sudan on 11 March 1993. The UN told them that they would take off again in 30 minutes (the time necessary to distribute food), so they ran around looking to take shots. The UN started to distribute corn and the women of the village came out of their wooden huts to meet the plane. Silva went looking for guerrilla fighters, while Carter strayed no more than a few dozen feet from the plane. Again according to Silva, Carter was quite shocked as it was the first time that he had seen a famine situation and so he took many shots of the children suffering from famine. Silva also started to take photos of children on the ground as if crying, which were not published. The parents of the children were busy taking food from the plane, so they had left their children only briefly while they collected the food. This was the situation for the boy in the photo taken by Carter. A vulture landed behind the boy. To get the two in focus, Carter approached the scene very slowly so as not to scare the vulture away and took a photo from approximately 10 metres. He took a few more photos before chasing the bird away.
Two Spanish photographers who were in the same area at that time, José María Luis Arenzana and Luis Davilla, without knowing of the photograph of Kevin Carter, took a picture in a similar situation. As recounted on several occasions, it was a feeding center, and the vultures came from a manure pit waste:
- "We took him and Pepe Arenzana to Ayod, where most of the time were in a feeding center where locals go. At one end of the enclosure, was a dump where waste and was pulling people to defecate. As these children are so weak and malnourished they are going ahead giving the impression that they are dead. As part of the fauna there are vultures that go for these remains. So if you grab a telephoto crush the child's perspective in the foreground and background and it seems that the vultures will eat it, but that's an absolute hoax, perhaps the animal is 20 meters away."
Awards and Exhibitions
in 1992 Joao Silva was awarded SA Press Photographer of the Year Award, 2nd prize in the World Press Photo awards and an honourable mention at the World Press Photo Awards. in 2012 Silva was awarded the Ordem da Liberdade by the Portuguese Government, It is awarded to individuals who have dedicated their lives to advancing the dignity of humankind and the cause of freedom. Work from Silva's first 20 years as a conflict photographer was displayed at the 25th annual Visa Pour l’Image international photojournalism festival in Perpignan, France.
- The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War, Greg Marinovich and João Silva
- In the Company of God, João Silva
- Marinovich, Greg; Silva Joao (2000). The Bang-Bang Club Snapshots from a Hidden War. William Heinemann. pp. 44–45. ISBN 0-434-00733-1.
- ^ "The boy who became a postcard" (Ehagakini Sareta Shōnen). Akio Fujiwara 2005. ISBN 4-08-781338-X
- Philip, Rowan (24 October 2010). "War photographer maimed in blast". Times LIVE. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
- "Support Joao Silva Photojournalist". Retrieved 31 March 2011.
Marinovich, Greg; Silva Joao (2000). The Bang-Bang Club Snapshots from a Hidden War. William Heinemann. pp. 44–45. ISBN 0-434-00733-1. "The boy who became a postcard" (Ehagakini Sareta Shōnen). Akio Fujiwara 2005. ISBN 4-08-781338-X Philip, Rowan (24 October 2010). "War photographer maimed in blast". Times LIVE. Retrieved 31 March 2011. "Support Joao Silva Photojournalist". Retrieved 31 March 2011. “Joao Silva - Bearing Witness to History - NYTimes.com.” Web. 27 Sept. 2013. “Joao Silva - Zajournos.” Web. 27 Sept. 2013.</ref> “João Silva: An Unbroken Man - MensJournal.com.” Web. 27 Sept. 2013. “Joao Silva: Looking Back, Moving Forward.” Lens Blog. Web. 9 Sept. 2013. “Photojournalist: João Silva Honored by the Portuguese Government – South Africa | Portuguese American Journal.” Web. 27 Sept. 2013. “Two ‘Bang Bang’ War Photographers On Their Injuries, Ethics : NPR.” Web. 18 Sept. 2013.