Thumbnails & testimonies

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" Only in the dictionary will you find success  before work "

El Salvador civil war 1986

Thumbnails taken from stories shot in Kuwait, Iraq, Haiti, Afghanistan, Bolivia, Colombia, Gaza and El Salvador.

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Jim Axelrod

Reporter CBS News

New York City        

Simply put, Mario de Carvalho is one of the world's finest Combat Photographers.

Having covered 15 wars and conflicts during more than a quarter century of work for CBS News, Mario has chronicled humanity at its most violent stages, with a keen and sensitive eye.

He has the soul of an artist married to the heart of a warrior. His intrepid bravery has allowed millions around the world an intimate and intense look at what happens when people go to war.

His compassion has shaped that coverage - finding the incongruous flashes of humanity yielded even on the battlefield.

His infectious and magnetic personality allows him access to people and places other cameramen never get.

I spent five weeks moving up the West Side of Iraq with Mario, covering the 3rd Infantry Division. He made it the most rewarding experience a television reporter could ever hope to have, and the best coverage the American people could ever get.


Dan Rather

New York City
October 2003

(foreword for Mario’s book)

… as true as all of this is of the atmosphere in a television studio, it is exponentially more true of those times when news takes you out into the field. And that is where I came to truly know Mario de Carvalho. When you’re putting together a production team for a tricky shoot in a tough place under difficult circumstances, there are certain people whom you ask for by name. It did not take me long to appreciate that Mario is one of those people.

The ideal of television news is seldom achieved, but on its best days it is the marriage of compelling pictures with informative words. The correspondent supplies the words and the cameraman brings you the pictures. If you absolutely had to do without one or the other, you would have to choose the pictures and forgo the words (and the correspondent); because without the pictures, television just isn’t television. And it should never be forgotten that you don’t get the pictures without the cameraman.

In the trade, cameramen are known as “shooters.” And if a cameraman wants to bestow the highest possible praise one of his colleagues, he will say that he is “a good shooter.” Of Mario, I would say—he’s a great shooter. From the desert sands of the first Gulf War to China to the seaport slums of Haiti, Mario, a cameraman’s cameraman, has been supplying the pictures and supplying them with a dedication and skill that can only be described as superlative. I have depended on his intelligence, and his guts, more times than I can say. More importantly, though, our viewers have depended on him to take them to the visual heart of important news stories as they have happened throughout the world. And he has not let them down.

This book takes the reader through the many datelines that Mario has known and shown to those who watch television news. You’ll see  places, events, and names you’ll recognize, but you will see them in a new way. This time you will get the perspective not only of the camera but of the man behind the camera, and you’ll see much of what happens beyond the camera’s frame.

With Mario as your eyes, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the view—and I’m sure it will be interesting.


Lt. Col. Rock Marcone / Commander 3 - 69 Battalion / 1st Brigade / M1A1 Tanks / 3rd I.D.  Operation Iraqi Freedom

          Mario DeCarvalho is a giant among men as a combat cameraman.  As he covered the action of Task Force 3-69 Armor as they served as the Advanced Guard for the 1st BCT, 3rd Infantry Division, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, he was always at the front capturing the action as it happened.  He was there capturing history in the toughest battles of the conflict including Kifl Bridge, Karbala Gap, The Bridge over the Euphrates at Objective Peach, and Saddam International Airport.  Mario is a master craftsman and his work is pure genius.  His experience as a soldier gives him an innate sense of where to be on the battlefield and when best to talk with the soldiers and leaders.  His true greatness lies in his talent for the art of filming and his relentless pursuit of the truth and bringing it live to your living room as if you were a part of the action.  His hard-hitting style as a combat cameraman is what makes his product such a work of passion and a reflection of his dedication to his craft and to his audience.  However, above all else is his strength of character and compassion for the men and the hell going on around them.  He is truly the best in the business, and I am honored to have worked with him and call him friend.


Suzan Zirinsky

Executive Producer

48 Hours Investigates

… I can say, without reservation, there is not a single man, woman or anchor that I would rather go to war with other than Mario de Carvalho.

What is so unique about this man that I have traveled the globe with is his humanity and sense of purpose.

As a cameraman, his responsibility is to capture images, capture a moment in time, record it for history. But Mario approaches every thing with a different sense of mission. He surrounds the story. He does it visually, he does it spiritually, and what evolves is that when he records a moment in time, his version of the truth tells much more than a visual snapshot of what's happening.

Mario captures the mood, the tension, surprise, shock, revolution to evolution, and there might not have been a word uttered.

His sense of composition is so sophisticated that, truthfully, reporters have to screen his images in order to write the story.

I personally have traveled all over the World with Mario.  We have gone to war, seen revolutions, seen peace. But weather it was in China during the massacre of students in Tiananmen Square, or the United States invasion of Panama, or the first Gulf war, Mario was brave, editorially connected to the reporters and producers he was working with. It was indeed a marriage. Often, no words had to be exchanged under fire. He knew what had to be done, and how to get it. But there's something more extraordinary about Mario working in tense war situations. He connected to the people in every conflict. He understood their pain and was able to translate it into pictures.

Mario spent an extended period of time in a Pentagon " pool " as a cameraman, during the first Gulf War. In the desert, limited supplies, limited communications.

The material would wend its way back to our field office in Dahran, Saudi Arabia as was stunned at the complexity of the soldiers stories, the state of the war.

There were no instructions from us, he was on his own and we were getting extraordinary material from the field.

Mario brings humanity to a war zone, to any story he covers.

There's something else about Mario. He is protective of those he is working with. Not in a patronizing way, but in a way that creates a family with the team he is working with. We are away from our families for months at the time. Mario becomes the glue for the group. In the first Gulf War, when the allied forces successfully took back Kuwait and CBS moved into Kuwait City, we were setup within Hours. This would be our new base of operations.

Mario would be shooting all day, then he would come back to our office in what was an abandoned hotel. No power, no water, except for bottles and powered by our own generators. Mario would cook noodles, sauce on tiny burners for the entire CBS contingent. He was our protector.

On the road, means a different life style than most people live. It means depending on people who are not related to you. But Mario, as an artist and human being, creates a working environment that feels creative- challenging  - protected.

I am proud to call him a colleague, but I am prouder to call him a friend.


Larry Doyle

Senior Producer

CBS News

October 2003

If you are going to step in the poo…you want to make sure that you put your footprints right behind Mario… and be prepared to move fast…in 32 years I have never seen anyone match the intuition, ingenuity and integrity of my tough " little Portuguese " friend… you will never find a man better matched to his job, and as tough as nails as he is in the field, you won't find a more witty, charming companion dining in Manhattan or sharing a can of tunafish on a dusty tarmac in some God forsaken hellhole.


Irv Reinhard

Audio Technician

Miami, October 2003

" Being with Mario in highly charged and dangerous situations was always reassuring to me , as I trusted his instincts and knowledge. Using his intellect and wit, Mario had a way of putting people at ease and breaking the ice with anyone, whether we were interviewing the President of a Country or driving through a rebel checkpoint in the countryside.

The same day we were pinned down, or as we would say " eating dirt ", by a sniper in Zacamil, six Jesuit priests were murdered in cold blood at the University Campus in San Salvador by the Right Wing Death Squads that were so prevalent in that Civil War. It was a very frightening experience. It proved, again that there are no guarantees on the battlefield. You can be confident in your own abilities to survive a bad situation, but the outcome is always in God's hands.

In the 5 1/2 years I worked with Mario, he displayed a level of competence, courage and confidence that is quite rare. Whether we were covering conflicts in Nicaragua or Haiti, El Salvador or China, the Gulf war in 1991 or the more recent conflict in Iraq, being around Mario was entertaining and enlightening.

His skills go far beyond his excellent eye as a cameraman. He is unique in our line of work. His military background, his multi-lingual abilities, his navigational skills from years of sailing, his ability to access breaking news situations and offer incisive editorial advice has made him a favorite cameraman at CBS News for almost three decades.

Due to his efforts, dedication and love of his craft, he has provided the public with many real life dramas that they could watch from the comfort of their living room.

I am proud to have worked with him on many significant events in History and of the friendship that we have formed over many years.


Laura Hurtado


Early 1982, I was an elementary school teacher at a German School in San Salvador.

Extremely poor, making $75 a month. I was struggling to support myself. A friend told be that the CBS News Bureau in town needed a local person that was fluent in English to help out at the Bureau. Not knowing what I was getting into, I left my children students and took the job.

Totally lost and without any experience in the News field, I met Mario de Carvalho, staff cameraman for the Network.

With lots of patience, he taught me and others how to deal with the Central American war or any other war. He was one of the few mentors I admired. I loved the new job!

He always had a positive wit about the bad situations that surrounded us, at all times.

Mario would always have plenty of Timex watches and cigarette cartons available just in case we ran into trouble, while filming the guerrilla war in the doomed countryside.

" This stuff will calm the enemy, keep them happy", he used to say. As a matter of fact it did, we always came back home alive!

Mario and Larry Doyle ( the producer at the time), pretty much made and kept me strong.

Later, they introduced me to their friend John Hogland, a war photographer for Newsweek. They were right, we were the perfect match and fell in love right away! In 1984, John was sent to Beirut for a month. As soon as he got back to El Salvador, we got married.

Six days later… John was killed on the road to Suchitoto in the outskirts of the capital.

He was caught in crossfire and was shot. One bullet in his back. That's it! He died in the arms of his best friend Bob Nickelsberg, a Time Magazine war photographer, and surrounded by the CBS News crew, among other media friends.

Mario was there at the time and helped me out with words of wisdom and moral support.

He loved John like many other colleagues did, colleagues that know, deeply, what covering a war is all about. Mario's positive outlook at life was and still is the main ingredient in those situations, to keep it going. Like he always said " Life is beautiful and too short for us to spoil it. Do the best you can and you will get out of pain".

Being so young, those words stuck with me.

Words of wisdom and experience ! Now, I am back to teaching and I have a family of my own. Mario's advice and positive energy will never be forgotten.



352 Feaster Road
Greenville, S.C. 29615 

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