“I think it’s been important to go back multiple times and to show this epidemic as it’s increased, and the terrible effect on the population – the fear, the death. You can’t do that in a short trip.”


The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is said by the World Health Organization to be the largest and most complex outbreak since the discovery of the virus in 1976. There have been over 15,000 reported cases of Ebola infection and nearly 5,000 deaths since March 2014, primarily affecting three countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Ebola is spread through contact with the blood, bodily fluids or organs of an infected person, and the virus has primarily been passed on to family members and carers of the infected.

No licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola exists, so where possible, infected patients have been placed into isolation in intensive care to be monitored and supported. Despite Doctors Without Borders sending more than 3,300 staff to work in isolation centres, and hundreds of millions of dollars already donated to the UN’s main Ebola relief fund, it is estimated that tens of thousands more could die from the disease before it is contained.

John Moore’s images, thoughtful commentary and insights are universally credited for early exposure of the epidemic’s scale, which called governments and organizations to act. In the earliest days of the epidemic, he identified its massive potential impact and volunteered to be one of the first photographers to travel to Liberia to document the growing crisis. He continued to document the unfolding tragedy and international response, returning to West Africa several times as the situation evolved.

The Sony World Photography Awards recognised the impact and gravity of Moore’s work, awarding him the prestigious L’Iris d’Or 2015- the Professional Photographer of the Year at the 2015 awards.

See more of John Moore’s work in our free Year in Focus book – download on iBooks