Joao Silva

Joao Silva

Joao Silva (born August 9, 1966) is a war photographer based in Johannesburg, South Africa and is currently contracted to the “New York Times” and is represented by PictureNET Africa. Joao started taking pictures in 1989 and began his career by working for the “The Star”, a Johannesburg daily newspaper, from this point Joao became a regular freelancer for the “New York Times” He was one of four people commonly associated with 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. In occupation and fragile democracy that followed.2005 Joao published 'In The Company of God', a photographic book on the Iraqi Shi'a during the American occupation and fragile democracy that followed. 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; Silva’s images are available from PictureNET Africa and The New York Times.

Personal information
Joao Silva was born in 1966 in Lisbon, Portugal and lives with his family in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has worked in several central and southern African countries as well as Afghanistan, Croatia, Israel, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Sudan. Joao Silva started taking pictures in 1989. He began his career with the Alberton Record, a local South African paper. In 1991 Joao worked for "The Star", a Johannesburg daily newspaper, as a staff photographer before joining the Associated Press in 1994. Joao Silva became a freelancer for the New York Times in 1996. In 2000 Joao became a contract photographer with the New York Times. In the same year, Silva co-authored 'The Bang-Bang Club' with Greg Marinovich, a South African Pulitzer prize winner, which is a factual account of four South African press photographers who covered the end of the apartheid era in South Africa.

Career information
Joao Silva first began taking pictures in 1989. During the time between the late 1980s and early 1990s, Silva began capturing and covering the escalating violence that was occurring during South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy. His career kicked-off when he went to work with the Alberton Record, a local South African paper. Succeeding this, he went to work with “The Star” newspaper in 1991 as a staff photographer; after which he went to join the Associated Press in 1994.
During 1996, Silva was a freelance photographer for the New York Times, before being contracted by The NY Times in 2000. That same year, Silva joined up with Greg Marinovich and they co-authored ‘The Bang-Bang Club’, a factual account of press photographers who reported on the end of apartheid on South Africa. Next came the publishing of photographic book, ‘In The Company of God’ in 2005. The book was based on the Iraqi Shi’a during the American occupation, and the succession of a fragile democracy. Since his initial coverage in South Africa, Silva has traveled and photographed humanitarian crises, internal conflicts and wars, ranging from Angola, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq and other conflict zones.

Recognitions and awards
Joao Silva’s awards include: the SA Press Photographer of the Year Award in 1992, 2nd prize in the World Press Photo awards and an honourable mention at the World Press Photo Awards. In April 1990 a pack of Inkatha Freedom Party aligned Zulu women attacked an alleged ANC sympathiser at the entrance of the Thokoza main hostel, during escalated violence between ANC and IFP supporters. A hostel dweller seemingly oblivious of what is happening in the background simply smiled at the camera whilst Silva was photographing the incident. This image was the main asset that helped earn him the South African Press photographer of the year award in 1992.

Women attack

Other professional activities
Currently Joao Silva is an advisor for the production team on the set of the "The Bang Bang Club" film set to be released in 2010. The Bang Bang Club story began filming in May 2009 in and around Johannesburg. The South African films production team recently visited Thokoza, East of Johannesburg where they were all very interested in what transpired there, posing questions to Joao Silva, who is the co-editor of the book, about his experience out in the field, what he saw and what happened on the 18th of April 1994. From October 2009 Silva will spend six months in Iraq covering the transition of Government forces.

Primary Sources
Joao Silva could could not currently be contacted due to his recent departure to Iraq, covering the transition of Government forces.
Secondary Sources
Joao Silva photojournalist personal website. About Joao Silva. Retrieved 16 October 2009 from

New York Times daily newspaper. Production Employees: Joao Silva. Retrieved 16 October 2009 from

Picturenet Africa Contributing Photographers. Joao Silva photographer. Retrieved 16 October 2009 from

Interview with Joao Silva at a former ‘no-go’/ conflict zone. Retrieved 19 October 2009 from

The Bang Bang Club review. The digital filmmaker organisation. Retrieved 16 October 2009 from

SA shines at World Press Photo. Retrieved 17 October 2009 from
In the Company of God review. Covered by Retrieved 16 October 2009 from

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