World-Renowned Photojournalist Yannis Behrakis Dies at 58



    Yannis Behrakis speaks to the Greek Reporter about his Pulitzer Prize-winning work in Athens in 2016. Photo by Odysseas Karadis / GreekReporter.com

    Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Yannis Behrakis has died, the Greek Reporter has learned. According to family members, Behrakis was battling cancer and died of the disease in Athens, Greece on March 2. He was 58 years old.

    One of the best photojournalists of his generation, Behrakis often risked his life to offer a voice to the voiceless in conflicts of war as well as recent tragedies such as the refugee crisis in Turkey and Greece.

    The Greek senior editor and his team at Reuters in Athens won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016 for their body of work covering the refugee crisis.

    Watch an exclusive interview the Greek Reporter conducted with Behrakis on his work documenting the recent refugee crisis in Greece:

    Behrakis was born in 1960 in Athens, where he studied photography in the School of Arts and Technology. He received his BA (with honors) from Middlesex University. He worked as a studio photographer in Athens in 1985-86 and in 1987 he started a working relationship as a contractor for Reuters.

    In late 1988 Behrakis was offered a staff job with the agency, based in Athens. Since then he documented a variety of events including the funeral of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran, the changes in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, Chechnya, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, the first and second Gulf wars, and the Arab Spring in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.

    He has also covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for many years, earthquakes in Kashmir, Turkey, Greece and Iran and major news events around the world. He covered four Summer Olympics, the 1994 World Cup in the US and many international sports events.

    HBehrakis was with Reuters in Jerusalem as the chief photographer for Israel and the Palestinian Territories in 2008/9. In 2010 he moved back to Greece to cover the financial crisis. He has taken part in group exhibitions in Athens, Thessaloniki, London, Edinburgh, New York, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid and Dubai, and he has presented solo exhibitions as well.

    In 2000, Behrakis survived an ambush in Sierra Leone where the American reporter Kurt Schork and Spanish cameraman Miguel Gil Moreno de Mora of Associated Press Television were killed.

    He and South African cameraman Mark Chisholm managed to get away from the attackers. In 2016, Behrakis was among the photography staff of Thomson Reuters which won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for the coverage of the refugee crisis.