‘This Is What I Do. This Is All That I Know.’

New York Times photojournalist Joao Silva was embedded with the U.S. military in Afghanistan when a land mine blew his legs off last year. Earlier this month, he made his first trip back to New York and gave a speech at the Bronx Documentary Center, in which he explained what happened.
I heard the mechanic click. I knew: this is not good. And I found myself lying face-down on the ground, engulfed in a cloud of dust, with the very clear knowledge that this has just happened and this is not good. I could see my legs were gone, and everybody around me was dazed. I was like, “Guys, I need help here.” And they turned around and saw me on the ground. They immediately sprang into action. I got dragged out of the kill zone, for safety reasons, to a patch of ground a few yards away.

Immediately, there were medics working on me. I picked up a camera, shot a few frames. The frames weren’t very good, quite frankly, but I was trying to record. I knew it wasn’t good, but I felt alive. Adrenaline kicked in. I was compos mentis; I was on top of things. So, I made some pictures. I dropped the camera, then I moved to Plan B, which was to pick up the satellite phone. I called my wife, Vivian, and told her, “My legs are gone, but I think I’m going to live.” Incidentally, I’m a father of two. I passed the telephone on to the correspondent so she could continue the conversation and keep Vivian calm.

Silva also talks about his recovery, the importance of photojournalism in dangerous places, and what he's learned about the lingering effects of war. A gallery of his photographs accompany the article. Link -via The Daily What

(Image credit: Joao Silva for the New York Times)

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Great Scott! Thank you xG for your service! It's that there's something creepy about your descriptions: "rough time for the industry;" "A harsh mistress;" "pragmatic;" "number came up;" I am so sorry for your injuries. Do you feel your sacrifice has made a difference?
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