Description: photographer Philip Coburn found the edit for the Retaking of Musa Qala piece quite difficult as he’d spent so much time with the soldiers 24/7 and had intimate photographs of the troops directly around him. However, everything about this assignment was about a major ISAF mission and everything about this job seemed like he was in the middle of a film set as everything seemed so unreal and surreal.
They ate ration packs and washed with a bottle of water every 3 days or so and the whole essence of the experience was to just stay alive. Moving in the vehicles across the desert and Afghan plains and down through the wadis, they listened to the “chatter” from the Taliban from the interpreters and discovered that the Taliban nicknamed this unit the “Warriors whom God protects” as they thought that the lightly armored vehicles that they moved in, was a sign of invincibility.
About a month after he left the BRF he heard that Corporal Darryl Gardiner, who had driven him around in Helmand in his wagon, was killed whilst he was taking some injured colleagues to a helicopter medical extraction after several of his colleagues had been involved in a landmine strike.
In January 2010 whilst embedded with 1/3 U.S. Marines in Helmand, Afghanistan that the MRAP that he and his colleague Rupert Hamer were traveling in was hit by an I.E.D. Rupert & a young Marine were killed in the blast. Coburn was seriously injured losing both his lower legs.
Ex Distilleria “Lo Stellino” | Outdoor Pavilion
Via Fiorentina, 95 – Siena
Philip Coburn started working as a photojournalist in North Ireland in the 1980’s before moving to London where he freelanced for the Daily Telegraph in the early 1990’s.
He was based in New York in the mid to late 90’s before returning to London in 1999 and continued to work for the Daily Telegraph before moving to work at the Sunday Mirror & Daily Mirror.
He has covered many and various events, conflicts and natural disasters including the Rwanda genocide & refugee crisis in Goma, Zaire in 1994, Montserrat volcanic eruption 1997, invasion of Iraq in 2003, many embeds with British Military in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina 2005. In January 2010 whilst embedded with 1/3 U.S. Marines in Helmand, Afghanistan that the MRAP that he and his colleague Rupert Hamer were traveling in was hit by an I.E.D. Rupert & a young Marine were killed in the blast. Coburn was seriously injured, suffering damage to his back and losing both lower legs.
He returned to work in 2011 and has continued to work as a photojournalist. Post-blast assignments have included Gaza, Iraq, Nepal, Singapore, Ivory Coast, Yemen & Europe. He feels that his injuries have helped him as a person & as a photographer, he is more empathetic towards people and more thoughtful in how he shoots & approaches assignments.