Joao Silva is the most talented and courageous contemporary conflict photographer. Bar none.
He has a penchant for danger and risk, but is never reckless. Especially not in the many war zones he covers. Although when behind the wheel of a car, or astride a motorbike, the less said the better.
He is a humanist, with a quiet, understated empathy for everyone he meets, photographs, has a passing exchange with. Generous and funny, he makes photographs that are elegiac, graceful and important documents of lives ventured, lives cherished and lives lost.
My son Luc, aged 5, closely followed by Madeline, aged 4, came in as I was writing this. They think Joao is the best. Note: all kids and animals think Joao is the best.
Luc looked up at me solemnly and said, “Every time that you got shot, was Joao always there to support you?”
Yes, I replied, and felt a spurt of tears as my throat constricted. Luc came and hugged me tight, “I feel sad too, Dad,” he sobbed.
Madeline, standing back, held her facecloth and said “I will wash his legs to stop the blood coming. This cloth is very soft.”
Saturday 23rd, thousands of miles away from me, my best friend and soul brother lost the lower part of both his legs to a landmine while following US troops on a mine sweeping patrol. In the midst of what mayhem one can only imagine, Joao asked for his camera, so he could take pictures of his injuries. Joao is currently in Germany, at the US military hospital, and stable.