“This Is What I Do. This Is All That I Know.”

The New York Times’ Lens blog has an interview up with Joao Silva who lost both of his legs last year to a land mine in Afghanistan. It’s by far the most comprehensive interview with him that I have seen and he talks, at length, about what happened that day, what he has gone through in recovery, how he came to the profession and why he does conflict photography.

People often ask me, “How can you stand there and watch people hack each other and take pictures?” You have to have clarity as to what your role is. If you want to help people, then you should not become a photographer. Having said that, we do help people. We help people all the time. Sometimes you help people with just the smallest of things. I’ve put people in the back of my vehicle and rushed them to the hospital.

But unfortunately, the images are so stark sometimes that people tend to think that there’s a machine behind the camera, and that’s not the case. We are all human beings. The things that we see go through the eye straight into the brain. Some of those scenes never go away.

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