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Jérôme Sessini
Jérôme Sessini

Jérôme Sessini

Country: France
Birth: 1968

Canon Ambassador Jérôme Sessini is a Magnum photographer who has covered some of the most significant events of the past 20 years. He also takes on long-term projects, studying the drug cartel wars on the Mexican/US border, the crisis in Ukraine and America's ongoing battle with opioid addiction.

Through his lens, Jérôme has shot political upheaval, social rebellion and human struggle. His move to reportage came in 1998 when he was asked by the Gamma photo agency to cover the conflict in Kosovo. He's since been immersed in some of the most significant events of recent years, including the Iraq War, the fall of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, the seizure of Somalian capital Mogadishu by Islamic militias, the war in Lebanon in 2006 and the ongoing conflict in Syria. His photographs have one common thread – they seek to dig below the news to capture scenes representing wider issues.

Born in Vosges, France in 1968, Jérôme was inspired by the works of the great American street documentary photographers Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander and, in particular, Mark Cohen. He came to photography late, at the age of 23, and is now a leading photojournalist in his own right, joining Magnum in 2012 and becoming a full member in 2016.

Photographing the victims of war has long been a driving force for Jérôme. "Ever since I was a kid, I've been interested in images, and when I was a teenager I also became fascinated by history," he explains. "Plus, I remember sitting with my parents and watching the wars of the time on the news. So photography seemed like the best way for me to be an artist on the one hand and a journalist on the other."

As well as his 'day job', Jérôme photographs people around his hometown in eastern France, shifting between their daily lives and the landscapes around them. He also takes part in longer-term projects, such as his So far from God, too close to the USA series, which focused on the impact of violence from the war between drug cartels in Mexico. Sessini reveals that although each visit to a conflict zone has been challenging – with the time he spent in Syria in 2012 being particularly notable for how tough it was, both emotionally and in terms of danger – it has been the stories that he has followed in Mexico that have been most emotionally involving. So far from God, too close to the USA received a number of awards and was published in a book, The Wrong Side, in 2012. Since 2014, Jérôme Sessini has been regularly covering the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Jérôme's work has also been published in distinguished publications such as Time, De Standaard, Le Monde and Stern, and he has exhibited at the Visa pour l'Image International Festival of Photojournalism in Perpignan, France, at the Rencontres d'Arles festival, and the French Ministry of Culture. His photographs are more than photojournalism, as he is keen to point out: "I don't like rigid categories. Sometimes there is art in journalism and journalism in art. Conscience, heart, beauty, balance and loss of balance are essentials for me."

Jérôme Sessini has also been nominated for a number of prestigious awards throughout his career, including the news category of the Visa d'Or awards for his work on Libya. His coverage of the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was taken out of the sky by a surface-to-air missile over the Ukraine in July 2014, saw him receive honours at the World Press Photo Awards 2015 (first prize, Spot News, Stories) and The Olivier Rebbot Award from the Overseas Press Club of America. Remarkably, Jérôme also won second prize in the same category at the World Press Photo Awards 2015 for his harrowing Final Fight for Maidan image.

Sessini believes in the strength of photographs more than video when it comes to pricking the conscience of people, and he has led workshops designed to help a new generation of photographers to develop their own visual language for documentary and social photography.

Source: Canon Europe


Jérôme Sessini is one the world’s most prolific and respected names working in the sensitive field of conflict zones and has been dispatched to war-torn countries like Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Libya for international publications. As well as reporting on the frontlines, he has covered social issues such as the drug-related violence on the streets of Mexico, the anti-government protests in Ukraine and indigenous minorities in Cambodia facing forced eviction. Through his work, he is constantly learning, adapting and evolving.

Since 2018, Sessini has been documenting the opioid crisis in the United States, where he has travelled to Ohio and Philadelphia to create intimate portraits of the people and places ravages by drug misuse. In 2017, Sessini travelled to remote villages in Cambodia with Samrith Vaing, documenting the life of indigenous minorities facing forced eviction. In 2016, Sessini documented the Kurdish Peshmerga offensive against Islamic State (IS) in the city of Bashiq before crossing the region to cover Iraqi forces pushing towards Mosul.

His work has been published by prestigious newspapers and magazines, including Newsweek, Stern, Paris-Match as well as Le Monde and the Wall Street Journal. It has been shown in multiple solo exhibitions around the world including the Visa Photo Festival in Perpignan, at the Rencontres d’Arles, the Bibliothèque Nationale François-Mitterrand, as well as with the French Ministry of Culture.

Sessini become Magnum Photos nominee in 2012 and a full member in 2016.

Source: Magnum Photos


 

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A second slim picture book Das Auge der Liebe ('The Eye of Love'), self-published in 1954 through his business “Turnus”, was created in collaboration with his wife Rita Groebli. This small book, though respected for its design and photography, caused some controversy, but also brought Groebli attention. It was assembled from shots made on the belated honeymoon that the photographer and his wife Rita took over two weeks in Paris in 1952 and in the following year for a few days to Marseille, though publication of the photographs was not planned in 1953 Groebli sequenced it for a book, introducing a blank page to stand in for daytime in its chronology. 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However the U.S. Camera Annual review of the work in 1955 pronounced it "a tender photo-essay on a photographer’s love for a woman.” After the death of photojournalist Paul Senn in 1953 and the killing of Werner Bischof in Peru in 1954, Kurt Blum, Robert Frank and René Groebli were newly admitted to the Kollegium Schweizerischer Photographen. A major exhibition organized by the 'Kollegium' in 1955 convinced critics that a new "Swiss style" that was indeed moving towards Photography as Expression as the exhibition was titled, and the end of critical (later dubbed 'concerned') photography. However, the association was soon disbanded because of disagreements between Gotthard Schuh and Jakob Tuggener, and Groebli had by then relinquished photojournalism. In the same year, and with four other Swiss photographers, Werner Bischof, Robert Frank, Gotthard Schuh and Sabine Weiss, René Groebli was represented with a picture in the exhibition The Family of Man curated by Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His available-light photo shows a tight crowd of excited, dancing teenagers, their movement blurred in the style of Magie der Schiene. Groebli launched his own studio for commercial industrial and advertising photography in 1955 in the newly built residential and studio building in Zurich-Wollishofen. At the end of the 1950s, Groebli also had his home and studio converted and enlarged and in addition to two studios and two black and white labs, a dye transfer workshop with several laboratory workstations was added. In 1963 Groebli founded the limited partnership Groebli + Guler with lithographer Walter Guler, renamed 'Fotolithos' in 1968. The workplace in Zurich-Wollishofen was equipped with the latest and best technical facilities and through the 1960s and early 1970s the business employed a staff of up to twelve, with good profits made from servicing the advertising photography industry. After ten years producing specialist colour photography, dye transfer production and colour lithographs for commercial advertising and industrial photography, in 1965 Groebli published his third photo book Variation through Arthur Niggli Verlag, Teufen. It presented a retrospective of possibilities of Groebli’s colour photography, though with scant mention of the role of his many employees and business partners. In 1971 he issued a second edition Variation 2, with updated information on colour technology including Cibachrome. By the late 1970s, with the more widespread adoption and acceptance of chromogenic methods of colour production less technically demanding and cheaper than dye transfer, Groebli ceased commercial photography and colour production, sold his home and studio and retired, though he still maintained connections with the industry and presented a paper on dye transfer at the 1977 Rencontres d'Arles. Groebli returned to making personal photographic essays in colour and in black and white, in series titled Fantasies, Ireland, The Shell, Burned Trees, N. Y. Visions, New York Melancholia and Nudes. Over the decades of the turn of the century, he worked on his image archive and digitized the most important photographs that he had taken over a career of sixty years. Groebli currently resides in Switzerland.Source: Wikipedia
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