The Greek photographer Yannis Behrakis of Reuters was chosen Photographer of the Year for 2015 by Guardian for his stunning coverage of the two biggest stories of 2015 – the refugee crisis and the the financial collapse of Greece.
Here are just a few of the reasons why.
“Photography can leave people speechless with its power and beauty. It can send a message to the audience, make people cry or laugh or both. It can make people feel guilty – or give money for a good cause. And it can make people think twice before pulling the trigger …”
“One day I was photographing a raft when I noticed movement in the water. I thought someone had jumped overboard. I focused using a long lens – then saw a fin. A dolphin jumped almost in front of the raft. It was a truly magical moment. It was as if the dolphin was showing the way and welcoming the people.”
“No one expected there to be so many of them. But most Greeks have some refugee blood, and locals realised these people only wanted to use Greece as a stepping stone to go north.”
“The emotional impact of covering the refugee crisis is devastating. I have suffered from insomnia and nightmares, and felt guilty many times for not being able to do more. I have refugee blood myself – and I am a father.”
“I have been covering Greece’s financial crisis non-stop since 2010. In my 28-year career as a Reuters photojournalist the idea of covering a catastrophe in my own country had always been a nightmare in my mind. I did my best to stay impartial while covering a financial and political crisis that seemed unthinkable until this year.”
Thank you Yannis for trying to make the world think twice. Thank you for standing in the cold, the heat, the rain. Thank you for your sleepless nights away from your family – thank you for your hunger, your patience, your emotion. Thank you for caring to bring home just one more shot. Thank you for still hoping and believing that you can make a difference.