Yannis Behrakis: The Man Behind the Image

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The Secretariat General for Media and Communication organized the event
“The Man behind the image” in honor of the multi-award winning photojournalist Yannis Behrakis.

Behrakis, has been a photojournalist with Reuters for the last 20 years. His work has been awarded many times on an international level; he was recently awarded by the Guardian as the best photojournalist of the year 2015, for his work covering the refugee crisis and the economic crisis in Greece. During the event, the Secretariat awarded Behrakis for his contribution in photojournalism and as a recognition of his superb work.

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“Apart from having more than a billion people seeing my work on a daily basis, this also means that I’m essentially letting people know what’s happening – and you can imagine how heavy this is,” said Behrakis about what it is to be a Reuters photojournalist.

“I went to a photography school in Greece when I was 24 years old, when I was searching what I was going to do with my life. I started working very soon after I finished the school, in a studio for commercial photography. It was a very nice environment – we shot musicians, artists, actors, a very glamorous life, every young person’s dream.[…] But that’s not me. This was never me,” said Behrakis.

He spoke about his love for movies and how a particular one – Under Fire – changed his life and made him who he is today. “Exiting that movie back then, I said “this is what I want to do!” I want to use the art of photography in a different way, through reporting, to try to change the world – that romantic! Luckily, life brought things this way and I managed to work as a photographer for Reuters.”

After sharing his experience with Reuters, Behrakis showed a 25-minute slide show of over 300 photos. “It’s not going to be an easy noon,” he warned the audience. The slide show, consisted of different thematics – starting with the most recent from the refugee crisis in Greece and the financial crisis, and continuing with the wars in Chechnya, Afghanistan, the first and second Iraqi Gulf wars, and many others.

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The slide show followed a discussion with the audience, in which the photographer elaborated on his experiences and how he copes with certain situations.