Date of Birth: August 9, 1966 (Lisbon, Portugal)
Nationality: South African
Children: Isabel, 6, and Gabriel, 4
João's first employer as a photographer was the Alberton record. He convinced the editors to let him cover the violence in Thokoza township. He finally resigned from the newspaper in order to freelance full time supplying images to Reuters and The Star. In 1996 he started shooting for The New York Times, becoming a contract photographer in 2000.
This is João's second warzone injury. He has previously been hit by shrapnel in the face.
In November 2006 João photographed Marine sergeant, Jesse E. Leach, retrieving from the line of fire a radio operator, Lance Cpl. Juan Valdez-Castillo, who had just been shot by a sniper on a foot patrol in Karma, Iraq. See the multimedia presentation (click on chapter Sniper I).
Those images were seen around the world and earned João a World Press Photo award. The injured soldier later wrote to The New York Times saying that João's photographs had helped him and his family understand what had happened, and what he had gone through. The images also inspired artist K. J. Battles' 'The Iron Sergeant'.
João was a member of the so-called Bang-Bang Club, a group of four photographers that covered the unrests in the townships of South Africa in the mid-nineties. The three other members were Kevin Carter, Greg Marinovich and Ken Oosterbroek.
A documentary entitled The Life of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006. A movie about the group, starring Ryan Phillippe, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010.
With Greg Marinovich: The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War, Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition, 2001.
In the Company of God, STE Publishers, 2005.
Tel. +27 83 258 8908