Silva undergoing several operations

2010-11-08 14:59

Renowned SA photographer Joao Silva was undergoing several operations in Washington, US, after losing both his legs in a landmine blast, his longtime friend and colleague Greg Marinovich said today.

“He is doing fine but is having to undergo operations all the time and it’s quite exhausting,” he said.

“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. When he comes out from sedation [he] is cracking jokes. Lots of work to be done and 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 photograoh again because it does not affect his legs but I just don’t think he will 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.

“In the midst of what mayhem one can only imagine, Joao 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 won numerous awards including the World Press Photo.

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