All focus

Focus on...Benedicte Kurzen / NOOR Images

Bénédicte Kurzen (France, 1980) photographic career began when she moved to Israel in 2003, covering hard news as a freelancer in the Gaza Strip, Iraq and Lebanon. In 2004, her photography developed from hard news to a more documentary style with her work on the lives of volunteer suicide bombers and widows in the Gaza Strip. Bénédicte contributed with this work to the “Violence Against Women” group project, in collaboration with Amnesty International and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Bénédicte holds a master’s degree in Contemporary History from the Sorbonne, Paris. She wrote her final essay about the “myth of the war photographer”, which inspired her to become a visual storyteller herself.

For the past ten years, Bénédicte has been covering conflicts and socio-economical changes in Africa. In South Africa, where she was based, she explored some of the deepest social challenges of the post-apartheid society producing “Next of Kin”, “The Boers Last Stand” and “Amaqabane”, on the life of former anti-apartheid combatants. The latest was produced for prestigious World Press Joop Swart Masterclass 2008. In 2011, she received a grant from the Pulitzer Center, which allowed her to produce a body of work on Nigeria, “A Nation Lost to Gods”. Her work has been screened and exhibited at Visa pour l’Image and was nominated for the Visa d’Or in 2012.

After becoming a NOOR full member in 2012, she decided to move to Lagos, from where she could pursue her coverage of Africa, with a focus on Nigeria. This resulted in 2015 in the exhibition “Shine Ur Eye” with Robin Maddock and Crisitina de Middel, which travelled from Photo London to Lagos Photo Festival and more places. Alongside, she became an adjunct lecturer at the American University of Nigeria in journalism.

Focus onJoão Silva

© Geoffrey Berliner

Joao Silva found photography in 1989 and began his career at a small-town newspaper in South Africa called the Alberton Record in the following year. In 1991 he was hired by The Star, a daily newspaper in Johannesburg, as a staff photographer before signing up with the Associated Press as a freelance photographer in 1994.

In 1992 he was awarded the Ilford South African Press Photographer of the Year Award and he was selected for the Joop Swart Masterclass in 1995. Joao Silva has been honored in prestigious photographic awards which include the World Press Photo and Over Seas Press Club Awards. Twice he has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by The New York Times.

Joao began freelancing for The New York Times in 1996 and in 2000, after becoming the Time’s regular photographer in Southern Africa, he was awarded a contract.

In 2000, Joao Silva co-authored with Greg Marinovich the Bang-Bang Club, a factual account of news photographers in South Africa who covered the end of apartheid.

‘In the Company of God’ a photographic book on the Iraqi Shi’a and the aftermath of the US occupation of Iraq, was published 2005.

Joao Silva was severely wounded in October 23, 2010, after stepping on a land mine while on assignment for The New York Times in Afghanistan. He sustained life threatening injuries and both legs amputated as a result of the explosion.

In September 2011 Silva became a staff photographer with The New York Times. After 14 months of treatment at the Walter Reed National Military Medical center Joao Silva returned home to South Africa on December 9, 2011.

After his injury Joao Silva received several notable honors. The French Republic awarded Joao Silva with the Chevalier De L’Ordre Des Arts Et Lettres on April 4, 2011.

In March 15, 2012 Joao Silva received the ‘Order of Liberty’ from the Portuguese Government which “honors individuals who have dedicated their lives to advancing the dignity of humankind and the cause of freedom”.

On May 19, 2012 Joao Silva received a Doctorate in Fine Arts (honorary) from the Corcoran School of Arts and Design in Washington DC, USA.

Joao Silva, a South African citizen, who was born in Lisbon, Portugal, on Aug. 9, 1966, lives in Johannesburg with his family where continues his rehabilitation.

Focus on Yuri Kozyrev

© Mari Bastashevski

As a photojournalist for the past 25 years, Yuri Kozyrev (Russia, 1963) has witnessed many world-changing events.

He started his career documenting the collapse of the Soviet Union, the last empire of our modern times, capturing the rapid changes in the former USSR for the LA Times during the 90’s. In 2001, Yuri started to cover international news. He was on the scene in Afghanistan after September 11, 2001, and lived in Baghdad, Iraq, between 2002 and 2009, arriving before the war. During those Iraqi years, he was a contract photographer for Time Magazine and traveled all over the country, photographing the different sides of the conflict.

Since the beginning of 2011, Yuri has been documenting the “Arab Revolutions” and their aftermaths in Bahrain, Yemen, Tunisia and specially Egypt and Libya.

Yuri has received numerous honors for his photography, including several World Press Photo Awards, the OPC’s Oliver Rebbot Award, and the ICP Infinity Award for Photojournalism. In 2008 he received the Frontline Club Award for his extensive coverage of the Iraq war.

His extensive body of work documenting the “Arab Revolutions” received wide industry recognition. “On Revolution Road” – on the revolts in Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya made for Time magazine – won the 2011 Visa d’or News at the international festival of photojournalism Visa pour l’Image. At the Prix Bayeux-Calvados his work “Dispatch from Libya” won both the Trophee and the Public Prize. In 2012 his work was awarded at the World Press Photo Contest and he was named the 2011 Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year International competition.

Yuri’s work has been widely exhibited. Some of his more recent exhibitions are “Russie[s]”, a unique showcase of work from Russia, exhibited together with Stanley Greene in Paris at La Maison de la Photographie Robert Doisneau and the group exhibition “Révolutions Arabes” curated by Alain Mingam. Between 2011 and 2012, his work “On Revolution Road” has been shown in ten different countries. In 2014, Yuri covered the conflict in eastern Ukraine and in 2015 the migrant crisis in Europe.

He is a member of Noor.