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Gravely wounded New York Times photojournalist shoots his first assignment since leaving Walter Reed Hospital

Joao Silva / New York Timesa via Redux

First lady Michelle Obama, left to right, Mike Meyer, Dakota Meyer and President Barack Obama after Obama signed the Medal of Honor citation in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Sept. 15, 2011. Meyer, a former Marine sergeant, received the award for courageous actions while serving in Afghanistan.

New York Times photojournalist Joao Silva got the assignment to photograph the meeting between President Obama and former Marine sergeant Dakota Meyer on Thursday at the White House. Meyer was being awarded the Medal of Honor, and Silva had been given special access to the Oval Office to photograph the personal meeting between the President and Meyer’s family.

At first glance this assignment doesn’t seem difficult, but Silva has unique challenges due to an injury he suffered when he stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan last October. Silva lost both of his legs that day, and he has undergone painful physical therapy and a series of operations since then.

The New York Times Lens blog has an account of how Silva’s assignment went.

The first thing he whispered, as the president greeted Mr. Meyer at the Oval Office entrance, was this: “I missed that.”
Later, he described it all more fully. “I wasn’t getting the shots. I was missing the shots.”
“And then there is the physical aspect of it,” he said. He added, “Pain. Nonstop, constant pain.” Read more.

Charles Dharapak / AP

New York Times photographer Joao Silva, standing at right, prepares to photograph President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Sept. 15, 2011. Silva was injured by a land mine while on assignment in Afghanistan in October 2010.

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