Silva undergoing several operations

2010-11-08 16:06
Johannesburg - Renowned SA photographer João Silva was undergoing several operations in Washington after losing both his legs in a landmine blast, his long-time friend and colleague Greg Marinovich said on Monday.

"He is doing fine but is having to undergo operations all the time and it's quite exhausting," he told Sapa.

"The medical team are trying to get rid of all the infections to get him ready for prosthetic legs."

Marinovich was expected to visit Silva on Thursday.

"I want to spend a few days there and check on him. Once I am there, I will know better what's going on."

Doctors had told family and friends that Silva would be hospital-bound for a few months as he needed to recuperate fully.

"He does talk when he is conscious... but not all the time, because he is sedated a lot.

'Cracking jokes'


"When he comes out from sedation (he) is cracking jokes. Lots of work needs to be done (over) a long haul, but he is being well looked after."

His wife Vivian was by his side in hospital.

The medical costs were being covered by the New York Times, for whom he is a contract photographer.

"They are being fantastic and looking after him well," said Marinovich.

"He will photograph again because it doesn't affect his legs, but I just don't think he'll be able to do war zones," said Marinovich.

Silva was injured after stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan on October 23. He had been following US troops on a mine sweeping patrol.

Photos of his injuries

"In the midst of what mayhem one can only imagine, João asked for his camera so he could take pictures of his injuries," Marinovich said on his website.

Silva was initially flown to Germany and after a few days moved to the Walter Reed Memorial Hospital in Washington.

"He has a penchant for danger and risk but is never reckless. Especially not in the many war zones he covers," the website said.

"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, or 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," said Marinovich.

Silva was born in Lisbon, Portugal, and is based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

He was associated with the "Bang-Bang Club", the nickname for a group of four photographers who covered events in South Africa during apartheid, and from the time former president Nelson Mandela was released from prison to the first democratic election in 1994. The other three photographers were Kevin Carter, Ken Oosterbroek and Marinovich.

Silva worked in Africa, the Balkans, Central Asia, Russia, and the Middle East. His images have won numerous awards including the World Press Photo award.
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