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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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To represent radiation, 4x5 inch film was irradiated in AMC hospital: the square in the middle of the film symbolizes Geerts' colon tumor which has the same size. Lastly, we partially burned some negatives to represent the surgery. With this series, we wanted to visualize the world you live in as a patient, and the huge contradiction in the treatments: it is made to make you better, but it breaks you down as well. Project "K" is about the fucked up reality in which strength and vulnerability play the lead role and hope is the constant factor. We are Geert Broertjes & Lotte Bronsgeest "Lotte explores the vulnerability of the body and the transience of life play an important role in her work, in which she always searches for the point where beauty meets confrontation. People are often quick in their judgement about each other, basing their opinions on the clothed body. Lotte is intrigued by discrepancies between opinions and reality." "Geert is fascinated by the diversity of people. What are their motivations, on what do they base their choices in life and what is their purpose. His work is a poetic, melancholic and romantic version of reality. He encourages the viewer to use his or her own imagination. His work is personal and emotional." We both graduated in 2013 from the Photo Academy in Amsterdam, that is where we met. We work as freelance photographers for different clients and create our own projects. Project K Website
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Attar Abbas, better known as Abbas, was an Iranian photographer known for his photojournalism in Biafra, Vietnam and South Africa in the 1970s, and for his extensive essays on religions in later years. He was a member of Sipa Press from 1971 to 1973, a member of Gamma from 1974 to 1980, and joined Magnum Photos in 1981. Attar, an Iranian transplanted to Paris, dedicated his photographic work to the political and social coverage of the developing southern nations. Since 1970, his major works have been published in world magazines and include wars and revolutions in Biafra, Bangladesh, Ulster, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa with an essay on apartheid. From 1978 to 1980, he photographed the revolution in Iran, and returned in 1997 after a 17-year voluntary exile. His book Iran Diary: 1971– 2002 (2002) is a critical interpretation of its history, photographed and written as a personal diary. From 1983 to 1986, he travelled throughout Mexico, photographing the country as if he were writing a novel. An exhibition and a book, Return to Mexico: Journeys Beyond the Mask (1992), which includes his travel diaries, helped him define his aesthetics in photography. From 1987 to 1994, he photographed the resurgence of Islam from the Xinjiang to Morocco. His book and exhibition Allah O Akbar, a journey through militant Islam (1994) exposes the internal tensions within Muslim societies, torn between a mythical past and a desire for modernization and democracy. The book drew additional attention after the September 11 attacks in 2001. The choice was to think of oneself either as a photojournalist or an artist. It wasn’t out of humility that I called myself a photojournalist, but arrogance. I thought photojournalism was superior. -- Attar Abbas When the year 2000 became a landmark in the universal calendar, Christianity was the symbol of the strength of Western civilization. Faces of Christianity: A Photographic Journey (2000) and a touring exhibit, explored this religion as a political, a ritual and a spiritual phenomenon. From 2000 to 2002 he worked on Animism. In our world defined by science and technology, the work looked at why irrational rituals make a strong come-back. He abandoned this project on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks. His book, In Whose Name? The Islamic World after 9/11 (2009), is a seven-year quest within 16 countries : opposed by governments who hunt them mercilessly, the jihadists lose many battles, but are they not winning the war to control the mind of the people, with the "creeping islamisation of all Muslim societies?" From 2008 to 2010 Abbas travelled the world of Buddhism, photographing with the same skeptical eye for his book Les Enfants du lotus, voyage chez les bouddhistes (2011). In 2013, he concluded a similar long-term project on Hinduism with the publication of Gods I've Seen: Travels Among Hindus (2016). Most recently, before his death, Abbas was working on documenting Judaism around the world. Before his death, Abbas was working on documenting Judaism around the world. He died in Paris on 25 April 2018, aged 74. About his photography Abbas wrote: "My photography is a reflection, which comes to life in action and leads to meditation. Spontaneity – the suspended moment – intervenes during action, in the viewfinder. A reflection on the subject precedes it. A meditation on finality follows it, and it is here, during this exalting and fragile moment, that the real photographic writing develops, sequencing the images. For this reason a writer's spirit is necessary to this enterprise. Isn't photography "writing with light"? But with the difference that while the writer possesses his word, the photographer is himself possessed by his photo, by the limit of the real which he must transcend so as not to become its prisoner." Source: Wikipedia Abbas, as he referred to himself professionally, was known for dramatic black-and-white photographs delivered with a point of view, especially in his book Iran Diary: 1971– 2002 (2002), a collection of images and text presented as a sort of journal. When the events that resulted in the overthrow of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1979 began, Abbas supported change, but he soon became disillusioned with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who took over the government. “When the revolution started, it was democratic,” The Toronto Star quoted him as saying in 2013. “It was my country, my people and my revolution. Then, slowly, it was being hijacked.” A turning point, he said, was the execution of four generals after a secret trial. He photographed their corpses in a morgue. “Something that we learned,” he said, “is that the extremists always win. That was my main lesson from the revolution. The extremists were prepared to kill, imprison, torture — everything. So they won.” Abbas was born in 1944 in a part of Iran near the Pakistan border. When he was a boy his family relocated to Algeria; he said that growing up during that country’s war of independence sparked his interest in documenting political events. He taught himself to use a camera, and among his earliest jobs was working for the International Olympic Committee at the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico. He would return to Mexico in the mid-1980s, taking pictures throughout the country over three years and producing the 1992 book Return to Mexico: Journeys Beyond the Mask (1992). In the 1970s he worked for the French agencies Sipa and Gamma. Early in that decade he was in Africa, covering the aftermath of the Biafran war in Nigeria and other events. He then found himself back in Iran. “My family is from Iran,” he told Vice in 2015, “but it isn’t as if I felt particularly Iranian back then. But I did feel that things had to change — you can’t just have some shah making all the important decisions for an entire country.” As the situation became more unstable and it became clear to him that the revolutionaries were no better than the regime they were replacing, he faced pressures from friends. “They urged me not to show the revolution’s negative side to the world,” he said. “The violence was supposed to come from the shah, not the protesters. I told them that it was my revolution as well, but I still needed to honor my duty as a journalist — or a historian, if you will.” He left the country in 1980 and did not return for 17 years. The revolution, though, had instilled in him an interest in what people throughout the world were doing in the name of God. “It was obvious after two years that the wave of Islamism was not going to stop at the borders of Iran,” he said in a video interview with The British Journal of Photography in 2009. “It was going much beyond the borders.” There are two ways to think about photography: one is writing with light, and the other is drawing with light. -- Attar Abbas He began by examining that phenomenon, resulting in the book Allah O Akbar: A Journey Through Militant Islam (1994), which recounted his travels through 29 Islamic countries. “When you’ve started with God you might as well stay with him,” he said, explaining why he went on to look at Christianity, paganism, Buddhism and more. It was an examination not of personal faith, he said, but of how faith can be deployed and twisted in other spheres. “What I’m interested in is the political, social, economic, even psychological aspects of religion,” he said, adding, “More and more, nations are defining their identities referring to religion.” If his work often put him in the middle of trouble spots, Abbas was not necessarily interested in images of blood and weaponry. “Most photographers, when they say they’re war photographers, they’re not really war photographers; they’re battle photographers,” he said in the video interview. “War does not limit itself to boom-boom, to the battle itself. Wars are very, very complex phenomenons, because they have a source, and it takes a while to come up, then it happens, and there are consequences. I’m more interested in the why and the afterwards of the wars.” He played down the part of his work that involved putting himself in harm’s way. “They say ‘courage’ — O.K., you have to be courageous,” he said. “But for me courage is a lack of imagination. You cannot imagine that it’s going to happen to you, therefore you go to the battle.”Source: New York Times
Rasel Chowdhury
Bangladesh
1988
Rasel Chowdhury is a documentary photographer. Rasel started photography without a conscious plan, eventually became addicted and decided to document spaces in and around his birth place, Bangladesh. He obtained his graduation in photography from Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute, and in due course, he found the changing landscapes and environmental issues as two extremely important subjects to document in his generation. Rasel started documenting a dyeing river Buriganga, a dying city Sonargaon and newly transformed spaces around Bangladesh railway to explore the change of the environment, unplanned urban structures and the new form of landscapes. During the same time, he started developing his own visual expression as a landscape photographer to address his subjects with a distinctive look.All about Rasel Chowdhury:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?In 2007, when I dropped my moot study (ACCA). Before that Photography was my hobby.AAP: Where did you study photography?I studied photography at Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute. AAP:Do you have a mentor or role model?Yes, Munem Wasif is my mentor who works in Agency VU. And Jemie Penney was my one of mentor from Getty Image when I was selected for the Getty Image Emerging Talent Award in 2012. AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?Yes, I was 6-7 years old. I got a Yashick Auto camera from my father and I took my teacher’s photo by first click. Still I’ve that film in my archive.AAP: What or who inspires you?So many people specially my Family member and friends.AAP: How could you describe your style?I always like calm and quite frame with special faded tone and less contrast.AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series?Many, like The Ballad of Sexual Dependence by Nan Goldin, The Americans by Robert Frank and so on. AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?Mostly, I shoot on 35mm film camera and then I crop as 6X7. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?Not so much.AAP: What are your projects?Desperate Urbanization, Railway Longing, Life on Water and No Money, No Deal.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Lot of photographers like Richard Avedon, Alec Soth, Nadav Kander, Dayanita Singh, Munem Wasif, Antoine D’Agata and so many.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Find your strength and believe in it.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Don’t be hurry. Be honest.AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?Desperate Urbanization- a story about dying river.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?When I shot at Old People Home in Niort, France.AAP: Your favorite photo book?Lots of photo books like Under The Banyan Tree, Belongings, Anticrops and so on.AAP: Anything else you would like to share?Twelve significant photographs in any one-year is a good crop - Ansel Adams.
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Sony World
AAP Magazine #29: Women

Latest Interviews

Exclusive Interview with Patrick Cariou
For more than 25 years, French photographer Patrick Cariou has traveled to places around the globe, documenting people living on the fringes of society. Whether photographing surfers, gypsies, Rastafarians or the rude boys of Kingston, Cariou celebrates those who meet the struggles of life with honor, dignity and joy. Bringing together works from his groundbreaking monographs including Surfers, Yes Rasta, Trenchtown Love and Gypsies, Patrick Cariou: Works 1985–2005 (published by Damiani) takes us on a scenic journey around the world, offering an intimate and captivating look at cultures that distance themselves from the blessings and curses of modernity.
Exclusive Interview with Niko J. Kallianiotis
Niko J. Kallianiotis' Athênai in Search of Home (published by Damiani) presents photos taken in and around Athens, the city in which he grew up. The images reflect the artist's eagerness to assimilate back into a home that feels at once foreign and familiar. Throughout the years the city and the surrounding territories have experienced their share of socio-economic struggles and topographic transformations that have altered its identity. The city of Athens in Kallianiotis' photographs is elliptically delineated as a vibrant environment that binds together luxury and social inequality. The photographer depicts a city in which the temporal and the spatial elements often clash with each other while conducting his research for a home that has changed over the years as much as he did.
Exclusive Interview with Ave Pildas
My new book STAR STRUCK focuses on the people and places of Hollywood Boulevard. Soon after I moved to Los Angeles in the '70s, I started shooting there. I was working at Capital Records, just a block and a half away, as a one of four art directors. At lunchtime, we would go out to eat at the Brown Derby, Musso, and Franks, or some other local restaurant, and I got to observe all the activity that was occurring on Hollywood Boulevard. It was amazing and it was fun, even though the location was ''on the turn''.
Exclusive Interview with Elaine Mayes
In The Haight-Ashbury Portraits, 1967-1968 (published by Damiani) during the waning days of the Summer of Love, Elaine Mayes embarked on a set of portraits of youth culture in her neighborhood. Mayes was a young photographer living in San Francisco during the 1960s. She had photographed the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and, later that year the hippie movement had turned from euphoria to harder drugs, and the Haight had become less of a blissed-out haven for young people seeking a better way of life than a halfway house for runaway teens.
Exclusive Interview with Theophilus Donoghue
A new release, Seventy-thirty (published by Damiani) depicts humanity's various faces and expressions, from metropolitans to migrants, unseen homeless to celebrities such as Robert De Niro, Muhammad Ali, Rene Magritte, Janis Joplin, and Andy Warhol. Steve Schapiro photographs early New York skateboarders while Theophilus Donoghue documents current Colombian breakdancers. Alternately profound and playful, father and son's photographs capture a vast range of human emotions and experiences. For this project, Schapiro selected images from the 60s civil rights movement and, with Donoghue, provided photos from today's Black Lives Matter protests and environmental rallies.
Exlusive Interview with Jessica Todd Harper about her Book Here
Like 17th-century Dutch painters who made otherwise ordinary interior scenes appear charged with meaning, Pennsylvania-based photographer Jessica Todd Harper looks for the value in everyday moments. Her third monograph Here (Published by Damiani) makes use of what is right in front of the artist, Harper shows how our unexamined or even seemingly dull surroundings can sometimes be illuminating
Exclusive Interview with Roger Ballen about his Book Boyhood
In Boyhood (published by Damiani) Roger Ballen's photographs and stories leads us across the continents of Europe, Asia and North America in search of boyhood: boyhood as it is lived in the Himalayas of Nepal, the islands of Indonesia, the provinces of China, the streets of America. Each stunning black-and-white photograph-culled from 15,000 images shot during Ballen's four-year quest-depicts the magic of adolescence revealed in their games, their adventures, their dreams, their Mischief. More of an ode than a documentary work, Ballen's first book is as powerful and current today as it was 43 years ago-a stunning series of timeless images that transcend social and cultural particularities.
Exclusive Interview with Kim Watson
A multi-dimensional artist with decades of experience, Kim Watson has written, filmed, and photographed subjects ranging from the iconic entertainers of our time to the ''invisible'' people of marginalized communities. A highly influential director in music videos' early days, Watson has directed Grammy winners, shot in uniquely remote locations, and written across genres that include advertising, feature films for Hollywood studios such as Universal (Honey), MTV Films, and Warner Brothers, and publishers such as Simon & Schuster. His passionate marriage of art and social justice has been a life-long endeavor, and, in 2020, after consulting on Engagement & Impact for ITVS/PBS, Kim returned to the streets to create TRESPASS, documenting the images and stories of LA's unhoused. TRESPASS exhibited at The BAG (Bestor Architecture Gallery) in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, September 17, 2022 – October 11, 2022.
Exclusive Interview with Julia Dean, Founder of the L.A. Project
Julia Dean, Founder of the Los Angeles Center of Photography, and its executive director for twenty-two years, began The L.A. Project in 2021. A native Nebraskan, Julia has long sought to create a special project where love for her adopted L.A., and her passion for documentary photography can be shared on a grander scale.
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AAP Magazine #29: Women
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