Finbarr O'Reilly

Photographer, Canada visit website

2006, World Press Photo of the Year singles, World Press Photo of the Year

2006, 2nd prize singles, People in the News

Finbarr O’Reilly is a Reuters photographer based in Dakar, Senegal and a 2013 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Born in Swansea, Wales in 1971, O’Reilly holds both British and Canadian citizenship. After studying journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto, he started his career in 1998 writing as an arts correspondent for Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper before moving on to the National Post, where he spent three years writing about pop culture, music, and film. In 2001, he left North America and joined Reuters as a text stringer in Kinshasa, Congo, where he spent a year before becoming the African Great Lakes correspondent, based out of Kigali, Rwanda. In 2003, he made two documentary films, co-producing ‘The Ghosts of Lomako’, about conservation in Congo, and co-directing and shooting ‘The Digital Divide’, about technology in the developing world. While working with Reuters, O’Reilly turned towards photography. As he told World Press Photo, ‘There was no photographer available to illustrate my stories and since I liked the idea of being a photographer, I tried to supply accompanying photos. They weren’t much to begin with because I had only a point-and-shoot camera, not much experience, plus Congo is a difficult place to work as a photographer. But a year or two later while working out of Rwanda, I got a better digital camera and then spent a month travelling around Darfur in Sudan, both writing and photographing the conflict there for Reuters. I noticed that my images were getting more play than my stories and that the message I was trying to convey had more immediate and emotional impact in the form of images.’ Shortly after beginning to work as a photographer, O’Reilly was awarded the 2006 World Press Photo of the Year for his image of a mother and child at an emergency feeding center in Niger. Since then, he has won numerous industry awards for his multimedia work and photography, including first place awards from Pictures of the Year Internal (POYi) and the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). He is published widely in leading international magazines and newspapers and his solo exhibition, ‘Congo on the Wire’ was shown in France and Canada. O’Reilly is among those profiled in the documentary film ‘Under Fire: Journalists in Combat’ (2011). He currently works as the Reuters chief photographer for West and Central Africa, coordinating pictures coverage for 24 countries.

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