Yannis Behrakis, 1960-2019

    March 3, 2019


    “My mission is to make sure that nobody can say: ‘I didn’t know’.” Award-winning Reuters photographer Yannis Behrakis dies aged 58 after a long struggle with cancer.

    After joining the news wire 30 years ago, Behrakis covered many of the most tumultuous events around the world, including conflicts in Afghanistan and Chechnya, a huge earthquake in Kashmir and the Egyptian uprising of 2011.

    In the process, he won the respect of both peers and rivals for his skill and bravery. He also led a team to a Pulitzer Prize in 2016 for coverage of the refugee crisis.

    Colleagues who worked with him in the field said Reuters had lost a talented and committed journalist.

    “It is about clearly telling the story in the most artistic way possible,” veteran Reuters photographer Goran Tomasevic said of Behrakis’s style.

    “You won’t see anyone so dedicated and so focused and who sacrificed everything to get the most important picture.”

    That dedication was striking. His friend and colleague of 30 years, senior producer Vassilis Triandafyllou, described him as a “hurricane” who worked all hours of the day and night, sometimes at considerable personal risk, to get the image he wanted.

    “One of the best news photographers of his generation, Yannis was passionate, vital and intense both in his work and life,” said US general news editor Dina Kyriakidou Contini.

    “His pictures are iconic, some works of art in their own right. But it was his empathy that made him a great photojournalist.”

    “My mission is to tell you the story and then you decide what you want to do,” he told a panel discussing Reuters Pulitzer Prize-winning photo series on the European migrant crisis.

    “My mission is to make sure that nobody can say: ‘I didn’t know’.”

    A Syrian refugee kisses his daughter as he walks through a rainstorm towards Greece’s border with Macedonia on September 10, 2015. (Reuters/ Yannis Behrakis)

    A Syrian refugee holds onto his children as he struggles to walk off a dinghy on the Greek island of Lesbos, on September 24, 2015. (Reuters/ Yannis Behrakis)

    A starving Somali child is given water near a refugee camp in Baidoa, Somalia, on December 14, 1992. (Reuters/ Yannis Behrakis)

    An ethnic Albanian man places the body of two-year-old Mozzlum Sylmetaj into a coffin next to the coffins of three other family members killed by Yugoslav army troops. (Reuters/ Yannis)

    Rebel fighters run for cover inside a building on the frontline in Tripoli street in central Misrata, April 21, 2011. (Reuters/ Yannis Behrakis)

    Migrants and refugees beg Macedonian policemen to allow passage to cross the border from Greece into Macedonia during a rainstorm, near the Greek village of Idomeni.

    A red sun is seen over a dinghy overcrowded with Syrian refugees drifting in the Aegean sea between Turkey and Greece after its motor broke down off the Greek island of Kos.

    Frantic Kurdish refugees struggle for a loaf of bread during a humanitarian aid distribution at the Iraqi-Turkish border.



    Posted by dayle at 2:28 pm
    Filed in: Café Journalism
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