The 2016 Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist who heads the Reuters office in Athens talks exclusively about documenting the refugee crisis, picks his favorite photo, and reveals that he is a grandchild of a refugee himself. Watch the interview.
Behrakis was born in 1960 in Athens, where he studied photography in the School of Arts and Technology. He received his BA (Honours) from Middlesex University. He worked as a studio photographer in Athens in 1985-86 and in 1987 he started a working relation as a contractor for Reuters. In late 1988 he 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, Lebanon the first and second Gulf wars 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 has also covered four Summer Olympics, the 1994 World Cup in the US and many international sports events. He has moved with Reuters in Jerusalem as the chief photographer for Israel and the Palestinian Territories in 2008/9. In 2010 he moved back in 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 while he has presented solo exhibitions as well.
In 2000, Yannis Behrakis has survived an ambush in Sierra Leone where the American reporter Kurt Schork and Spanish cameraman Miguel Gil Moreno de Mora ofAssociated Press Television were killed. He and South African cameraman Mark Chisholm managed to get away from the attackers. In 2016, he was among the Photography Staff of Thomson Reuters that won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for the coverage of the refugee crisis.