Finbarr O'Reilly 

A bit about me...

I’ve spent the last 20 years as an award-winning visual journalist and author working in conflict zones and complex humanitarian emergencies. With extensive experience managing complicated operations and logistics, especially in challenging environments, I have a track record of delivering industry-leading coverage as well as building and managing diverse, effective, and innovative teams able to thrive in an ever-evolving media landscape. 

My focus in recent years has been on leading collaborative multi-platform projects that develop and promote a more representative range of voices and perspectives in the photojournalism industry while translating strategic and editorial objectives into engaging and compelling narratives that influence global audiences.

I am committed to educational, mentoring, and personal development initiatives aimed a meaningful diversification of the media landscape and the promotion of social justice.

Nobel Peace Prize photographer

Canon Ambassador

FotoEvidence, Board Member

ACOS Alliance, Board Member

Currently based in Barcelona

Fellowships and Academia 

Yale World Fellow 2015

Harvard Nieman Fellow 2012-2013  

Columbia University Ochberg Fellow 2014 (DART Center for Journalism and Trauma).

MacDowell Colony 2016 Writer in Residence.

Carey Institute for Global Good 2016 Writer in Residence.


James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting 2023

Carmignac Photojournalism Award 2020-21 (Congo)

Emmy Award 2020, Ebola in Congo (producer) PBS Frontline

World Press Photo 2019 First Place, Portraits (Senegal Fashion)

World Press Photo of the Year 2006 (Niger hunger crisis)

Peabody Award 2013 and 2012 Academy Award short list for bestdocumentary UnderFire: The Psychological Costs of Covering War (contributor and profile subject).

Pictures of the Year International 2010 Premier Award Judge’s Special Recognition One Week’s Work (Congo).

Pictures of the Year International 2009 First Place Multimedia News Story (Congo).

National Press Photography Association 2010 First Place Portrait (Congo).

National Press Photography Association 2011 Third Place International Story (White Poverty in South Africa).

Diageo African Business Reporting Award 2009 (conflict gold mining in Congo).

Thomson Reuters Community Champion Award 2008 in recognition of volunteer work with Stand Proud, a charity for polio-stricken children in Congo. 

Gold Medal 2004 New York Film and TV Awards for Congo feature documentary film Ghosts of Lomako (Associate Producer).


I. Photography

Congo in Conversation, both covers

Congo in Conversation, cover 1

Congo in Conversation, cover 2

Congo in Conversation

Created as the Laureate of the 2020 Carmignac Photojournalism Award.

Congo in Conversation  is a collaborative online chronicle created with a dozen Congolese visual journalists. The project, financed and produced by Fondation Carmignac, addresses the human, social and ecological challenges facing Congo within the context of a global pandemic.

Congo in Conversation’s team of photographers and video journalists covered their country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and situated Congo within the global reckoning over racial injustice and the lasting traumas of colonialism and slavery. They have documented militia attackspolitical unrestprotestseconomic upheaval, the environmentfashiondaily life, the end of an Ebola epidemic, and more. In 2021, Congo in Conversation will continue to publish monthly on this site, and weekly on Instagram.

Now, a selection of the featured work has been published as a bilingual French and English monograph, with an introduction by Dr. Mark Sealy, curator and Director of Autograph gallery in London, and author of “Decolonizing the Camera: Photography in a Racial Time.”

Link to purchase (scroll down on Relief Editions page)

II. Nonfiction | Memoir

Shooting Ghosts, Paperback, click to buy

Shooting Ghosts

A unique joint memoir by a U.S. Marine and a conflict photographer whose unlikely friendship helped both heal their war-wounded bodies and souls.

Through the unpredictability of war and its aftermath, a decorated Marine sergeant and a world-trotting war photographer became friends, their bond forged as they patrolled together through the dusty alleyways of Helmand province and camped side by side in the desert. But when Sergeant T. J. Brennan was injured during a Taliban ambush, he and conflict photographer Finbarr O’Reilly returned home, each to face the fallout of war in their own way. Their friendship offered them both a shot at redemption.

Shooting Ghosts looks at the horrors of war directly, but then turns to a journey that draws on our growing understanding of what recovery takes, charting the ways two survivors have found to calm the ghosts and reclaim a measure of peace. 


“The dueling-piano spirit of Shooting Ghosts works because its authors are so committed to transparency, admitting readers into the dark crevices of their isolation. Both are sharp minds whose self-awareness keeps their stories from slipping into banality and their lives devoted to something beyond war.”
-Wall Street Journal

“Brennan and O’Reilly strip away any misplaced notions of glamour, bravery, and stoicism to craft an affecting memoir of a deep friendship.”
Publisher’s Weekly, (starred review)

Buy book

Book web site

Shooting Ghosts, Hardcover, click to buy