Jorge Silva

Jorge Silva

Bangkok, Thailand
Mexico City, Mexico
“I respect the people I photograph. Respect is the most important element in establishing a relationship with the subjects of your pictures.”


Most of the time I cover politics. However, I’m interested in social issues and people, so I like to shoot longer stories too. I also enjoy covering sport.

One Shot

. Baquba, Iraq. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
An Iraqi man suspected of having explosives in his car is held after being arrested by the U.S. army near Baquba, Iraq.
“I don’t know if this is my favourite picture of all time, but I consider it a strong image. It’s a synthesis; an entire story in a single frame. I shot it during an embed in Iraq, near Baqubah in 2005, during an election to modify the Saddam Hussein-era constitution. The picture shows an arrested man, blindfolded. Reflected in the window of the vehicle into which he is being bundled is a U.S. soldier, smiling. I guess they represented the situation of both countries: the invaders and the drama of the Iraqis.”


My fascination with photography began when I first saw an image reveal itself under the red light of a dark room. It happened when I was 14 but it’s still fresh in my mind.

I started learning to photograph when I was in high school. I took part in a black-and-white photo workshop for a year and have not stopped taking pictures since.

My father bought me an amazing Pentax K-1000. I remember buying cans of film to make my own rolls and taking pictures of everything. Once I used it during a weekend trip, thinking I had some amazing shots. Then I realised that the camera had no film! I discovered an entire world through the viewfinder though.

I started working part time for a local news agency in Mexico City, in the darkroom developing films and making prints for clients. My first day with a camera, I had to cover the rally of a low profile politician. My pictures were terrible; we couldn’t use them. I realised I had a lot to learn. Over the years I learnt to have patience and to wait for an image.

Haiti’s earthquake in 2010 was a very sad and emotionally demanding experience. I had never before faced a situation like it and I hope never to have to go through something like it again. I remember the nights we slept in the open air in a hotel garden. We were kept awake by the screaming of injured children lying just meters from us. The hotel’s lobby was an emergency hospital. It was one of those stories that challenge you in every way.

The assignments that challenge me most are the ones where you see war and witness the most dramatic and lamentable aspects of the human condition. It fills you with impotence and indignation. It’s hugely challenging to translate those feelings into images.

I shoot pictures for anyone walking down the street, who is caught by an image at a magazine stand, or who looks at his computer or mobile. I think we have a responsibility to be the creators of a visual legacy, something that we can leave behind for posterity.

As photojournalists we can make many different people look at one single point. This allows us to provoke thoughts and questions, and to create a space to stop and think about the problems in our societies.

I think our mission as photographers is to raise people’s consciousness of issues, to be critical and to direct people’s eyes towards the things that concern us, and that can be changed, rejected or admired.

I respect the people I photograph. Respect is the most important element in establishing a relationship with the subjects of your pictures and is key to accessing their real life.

Behind the Scenes

. PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti. REUTERS/Eliana Aponte
Reuters Photographer Jorge Silva rides on a motorcycle in Port-au-Prince while covering the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Guadalajara, Mexico. Reuters/Sergio Moraes
Jorge Silva jumps into a swimming pool to fix an underwater remote camera during the Panam Games in Mexico.