Joao Silva

South Africa

Under the mentorship of Ulli Michel, João became a stringer for the Reuters Johannesburg Bureau in 1991. In 1992, he was hired as a staff photographer at The Star. He later joined the Associated Press as a freelance photographer in 1994. In 1996, he began freelancing for The New York Times and by 1998 had become the Times’ regular freelance photographer in Southern Africa. He was a contract photographer for the Times by 2000.

João won the South African Press Photographer of the Year Award in 1992 and was selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 1995. His work has also been honored in the World Press Photo and Over Seas Press Club Awards, amongst others.

The Bang-Bang Club, a factual account of news photographers in South Africa who covered the end of apartheid, co-authored with Greg Marinovich, was published in 2000. In the Company of God, a photographic book on the Iraqi Shi’a and the aftermath of the US occupation of Iraq was published in 2005.

On 23 October, 2010, João was severely wounded after stepping on a landmine while on assignment for The New York Times in Afghanistan. João lost both legs as a result of the explosion. While recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the USA, the French Republic awarded him with the Chevalier De L’Ordre Des Arts Et Lettres on 4 April, 2011. In September 2011, he became a staff photographer with The New York Times and on 9 December, he returned home to South Africa after 14 months of treatment. João was awarded the ‘Order of Liberty,’ which honors individuals who have dedicated their lives to advancing the cause of freedom on 15 March, 2012, by the Portuguese government. On 19 May, 2012, the Corcoran School of Arts and Design in Washington DC, also honored João with an honorary doctorate in fine arts.

João Silva was born in born in Lisbon, Portugal, on 9 August, 1966. He is a South African citizen and lives in Johannesburg with his family.

Joao Silva