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RPT kickstarts publishing initiative to support Ricardo Garcia Vilanova

RPT kickstarts publishing initiative to support Ricardo Garcia Vilanova

Funds raised by the publication and sale of photo book, "Libya Closeup", will provide long-term support for Ricardo, who was recently freed from captivity in Syria. 

Libya Closeup is a book of photographs by Ricardo Garcia Vilanova that chronicle the Libyan conflict.  The initiative has been put together by his close friends, journalists Gervasio Sanchez and Félix Flores, who also edited the book. Jon Lee Anderson of The New Yorker has written the prologue.

As a freelancer, Ricardo has received no income during his captivity in Syria and faces mounting living costs now that he is back home. Sales of the book will help to cover these costs and replace camera equipment that he needs to return to work.

Ricardo was kidnapped with Javier Espinosa - staff correspondent with El Mundo - in September 2013.  They were held for 194 days in the town of Raqaa before their release last Saturday. Ricardo has been covering the conflict for several years, contributing work to organisations including CNN, ITV News, The New York Times, BBC and Al Jazeera.

RPT has kick-started the initiative with a donation of €1,000.

"We were on the phone with Ricardo less than 48 hours after his release", says Elisabet Cantenys, RPT's Head of Programmes. "He sounded calm and clear and he was worried about replacing his camera equipment, which is so Ricardo, and so freelance. Getting back to work is often a priority for freelancers - to do what defines them and what dignifies them after a crisis. But there is also pressure to resume work in order to pay bills and make up for lost income, even if they don't feel ready. This is about supporting Ricardo through his work, honouring his talent and dedication, so that he can get back on his feet."

Félix told us he and Ricardo had the idea of pubishing the book when they were both working in Libya: "so when we were thinking of ways to support Ricardo, the book idea seemed an obvious one. This campaign is about supporting Ricardo through his own work, which is important. And we also like the fact that those who contribute get something in return."

Félix wants to raise at least €30,000 via the Libya Closeup kickstarter campaign.  The book's printing and distribution will be covered by the fundraising, but its publisher Blume, and everyone else involved in putting the book together, has given their time for free. At least 50% of monies raised will go directly to Ricardo. A €30 donation to the campaign will secure a copy of the book, which is being printed in Spanish and English, but everyone is encouraged to give as little - or as much - as they can afford.

Ricardo was joint-winner of the Rory Peck Award for Features in 2012.

  •     You can also tweet your support using hashtags #SupportRicardoGV and #Libyacloseup.

Top image: photograph from LibyaCloseup by Ricardo Garcia Vilanova

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