Photographer Joao Silva Wounded in Afghanistan

By Holly Stuart Hughes

Joao Silva covering a 2003 car bombing in Baghdad.

Joao Silva, a contract photographer with The New York Times, suffered severe wounds to his legs and other injuries when he stepped on a mine near Arghandab, Afghanistan, on Saturday.   He was flown to a military hospital in Germany that night. He was in stable condition on Sunday, the Times reported.

Silva was embedded with a unit of the Fourth Infantry Division.  Three US soldiers sustained concussions in the blast.  According to the Times, medics reached Silva within seconds. He underwent surgery at a military hospital in Kandahar Province, and was then treated at Bagram Air Base near Kabul before being flown to  Germany.

In a memo to The New York Times staff, executive editor Bill Keller wrote, “Those of you who know Joao will not be surprised to learn that throughout this ordeal he continued to shoot pictures.”

In  his staff memo, Keller noted that the military has been in touch both with the Times’ Kabul Bureau and Silva’s wife, Vivian, at the Silvas’ home in Johannesburg, South Africa.  He noted, “Barry Bearak of the Johannesburg Bureau, a good friend of the Silvas, and Michael Slackman in Berlin, have cut through red tape to get Vivian visa-ed and ticketed so she can join her husband in Germany.”

The Portuguese-born Silva, 44, has been based in Johannesberg  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.    

Marinovich, Silva's long time friend and collaborator, wrote on his blog this weekend that Silva "has a penchant for danger and risk, but is never reckless. Especially not in the many war zones he covers." He also noted, "Silva is the most talented and courageous contemporary conflict photographer. Bar none.

his blog,
Silva's work can be seen at his web site,



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