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In the Company of God is a bloody and emotional journey through displays of extreme faith, sacrifice, war and occupation. Silva must have one of the broadest views of Iraq of any foreign correspondent in Iraq. He has been embedded with the US Marine Corps, as well as Mahdi’s Army, and spent time with the Shi’a and the Marsh Arabs. … and he is now one of the world’s best war photographers.

—Jonathan Katzenellenbogen, Business Day.


Book information

ISBN:  978-1-919855-44-8

Trim size: 240 x 240mm

Binding: hardcover

Page count: 140 pages

Imagery: tbc

Cost: R450.00

Genre: Photography / Religion



In the Company of God by João Silva is a photographic compilation that portrays Iraqi Shi’a Muslims in a period of occupation and transition. This photographic body of work, recorded over twelve months, richly captures the Shi’as’ intense commitment to their faith and their indomitable spirit of sacrifice.

Between July 2003 and March 2005, Joao Silva made several trips to Iraq as a photographer for the New York Times. During that period, he spent time with the Kurds, Sunni, Shi’a and the American-led coalition forces. In the Company of God focuses on the Iraqi Shi’a, who constituted Iraq’s ethnic majority but had been repressed in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Silva provides a photo-narrative exploring the themes of faith, sacrifice, war and martyrdom.


About the pictures

The pictures in this book are not displayed in chronological order but rather in a manner that best illustrates a narrative about faith, sacrifice, war and martyrdom. They were taken while on assignment for The New York Times from 30 July–3 November 2003, 16 January–1 April 2004, 16 June–30 August 2004 and again from 18 January–31 March 2005.


João Silva

Born in Portugal in 1966, Joao Silva is a photographer contracted to The New York Times.

Before joining The New York Times in 1996, Silva worked for the Associated Press and the Johannesburg daily, The Star. He has worked in several central and southern African countries as well as Afghanistan, Croatia, Israel, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Sudan.

Silva has won several awards including the South African Press Photographer of the Year Award in 1992 and was selected for the World Press Photo Masterclass in 1995. He was recently awarded the second prize in the World Press Photo Awards in the category World Contemporary Issues. In 2000, Joao co-authored The Bang-Bang Club with Greg Marinovich, which has since been turned into an international feature film of the same name.

He lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.