Jérôme Sessini initially found documentary photography through books and photographing people around his hometown in eastern France. He earned renown by digging below the news to capture scenes that are representative of wider issues. From the time he started photographing conflicts, his lens always seemed to spin toward people and their relationship with their environment.
From the rubble-covered streets of Aleppo to the barricades of Kyiv, Sessini has covered many of the major conflicts of the last decades: The Iraq war (2003 to 2008), the fall of Haitian president Aristide (2004), the seizure of Mogadishu by Islamic militias and the war in Lebanon (2006), the wars in Libya (2011) and Syria (2012-2013), as well as the Ukrainian war (2014-).
After fifteen years at the heart of current affairs he stepped back to focus on broader issues and context, developing a photographic practice that values long-term projects and introspective stories.
In 2008 he photographed the impact of violence resulting from warring drug cartels in Mexico, a project that received a number of awards and was published as The Wrong Side (Contrasto, 2012).
In 2018 he began a long-term project on the opioid crisis in America, attempting to make sense of the landscapes and context behind one of the greatest internal threats the country has ever faced. This ongoing work was awarded the Pierre & Alexandre Boulat Prize in 2018.
Sessini joined Magnum Photos in 2012 and became a full member in 2016. His work is widely acknowledged and has been published by outlets including from The New Yorker, Time Magazine and De Standaard among many others. Prints of his work have been exhibited internationally in festivals and museums, among which are Les Rencontres d’Arles, the Barbican and the ICP.
AWARDS & Recognitions
2018 Prix Pierre & Alexandre Boulat : The Inner Threat
2015 American Society of Magazine editors, Crime without Punishment
2014 Prix Olivier Rebott pour l’Ukraine, Crime without Punishment
2014 World Press Photo: Ukraine, Crime without Punishment: 1st Prize Story Spot News
2014 World Press Photo: Final fight for Maidan: 2nd Prize Story Spot News
2013 World Press Photo: World Press Photo: Aleppo: 1st prize for multimedia category short online
2011 Getty Grant Award pour The Wrong Side 2010 – F AWARD – Fondazione FORMA
2019 Territoires & Destins, Magnum Gallery, Paris
2019 Les Murs du Pouvoir, Les Rencontres d’Arles, France
2017 Magnum Manifesto, ICP, New York.
2017 Magnum Exhibition in the Métro, Paris
2016 Medphoto Festival, Greece
2016 Musée de l’Arsenal, Metz, France
2015 Inner Disorder, CAMERA – Italian Centre for Photography, Turin, Italy
2014 Paris Photo: Ukraine
2013 Paris Photo: Cuba
2013 Theater of War, The Barbican Museum, London
2013 Odyssey Europe, Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Mannheim, Germany
2012 The Wrong Side, Fondazione FORMA per la Fotografia, Milan