a certain portfolio by

Gilles Peress



Gilles Peress was born December 29, 1946 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France and grew up in Paris with his mother, an orthodox Christian from the Middle East, and his father, who was of Jewish and Georgian descent. Peress studied at the Institute d’Etudes Politiques in Paris from 1966 to 1968 and then at the University of Vincennes until 1971. Peress began working as a photographer in 1970, embarking on an intimate portrayal of life in a French village, Decazeville, as it emerged from the ashes of a debilitating labor dispute. In 1973 he photographed Turkish immigrant workers in West Germany and documented the European policy to import cheap labor from the third world. He then joined Magnum Photos.

Peress soon traveled to Northern Ireland to begin an ongoing 20-year project about the Irish civil rights struggle. One of his most famous pictures from this period captures a young man named Patrick Doherty moments before he was killed whilst crawling to safety in the forecourt of the Rossville flats during Bloody Sunday. Power in the Blood, a book that synthesizes his years of work in Northern Ireland, is the third part of his ongoing project called Hate Thy Brother, a cycle of documentary stories that describe intolerance and the re-emergence of nationalism in the postwar years. Farewell to Bosnia was the first part of this cycle, and The Silence, a book about the genocide in Rwanda, was the second.

In 1979 Peress traveled to Iran in the midst of the Revolution. His book, Telex Iran: In the Name of Revolution, is about the fragile relationship between American and Iranian cultures during the hostage crisis. Peress has also completed other major projects, including a photographic study of the lives of Turkish immigrant workers in Germany, and an examination of the contemporary legacy of the Latin American liberator Simon Bolivar.

Peress participated in the photography collective This Place, organized by photographer Frédéric Brenner. For his project, Peress focused on the village of Silwan, where there are frequent violent clashes between Palestinians and Jewish settlers, and used large format cameras to document his experience.[1]

Peter Galassi, Chief Curator of the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York has said of Peress, “Over the past four decades, in one ambitious project after another, Gilles Peress has creatively transformed and reinvigorated photography’s tradition of engaged reportage. Perhaps the most ambitious and sustained of all of those projects is his richly textured and deeply moving visual essay on two decades of bitter chat devastated Northern Ireland in the wake of Bloody Sunday in 1972. That extended essay has the gripping immediacy and epic sweep of a novel by Tolstoy.”


1977  Apeiron: Artist in Residence
1979  National Endowment for the Arts
1981  American Institute of Graphic Arts Award
1981  Art Director’s Club Award
1981  Overseas Press Club Award
1981  Prix du Premier Livre/Foundation Kodak Pathe
1981  Prix de la Critique Couleur
1983  Imogen Cunningham Award
1983  Fondation Nationale pour la Photographie
1984  W. Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography, W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund.
1984  National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship
1986  Gahan Fellowship at Harvard University1989, Art Director’s Club Award
1989  Ernst Haas Award
1990  Art Matters Grant
1992  National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship
1992/93  Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship
1993  La Fondation de France Fellowship
1994  International Center of Photography Infinity Award
1995  Camera Works, Inc. Artist Grant
1995  Erich Solomon Prize
1996  International Center of Photography Infinity Award
1997  Open Society Institute’s Individual Project Fellowship: Hate Thy Brother
1997  Art Director’s Club Award for NY Times Web site design: Bosnia: Uncertain Paths to Peace
1999  Alfred Eisenstaedt Awards: Eyewitness Photo and Journalistic Impact
2000  Alfred Eisenstaedt Awards: Journalistic Impact – Photo Essay, “Exile and Return”, The New Yorker
2000  Overseas Press Club: 1999 Olivier Rebbot Award, “Exile and Return”, The New Yorker
2000  Mosaique Programme Grant, “Difference/Indifference” Centre National de L’Audiovisuel, Luxembourg
2002  Brendan Gill Prize: Here is New York: a democracy of photographs exhibition
2002  Cornell Capa Award (International Center of Photography Infinity Awards): Here is New York: a democracy of photographs
2002  New York State Council on the Arts, Individual Artists Project Grant
2002  Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant


Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois
Arts Council of Great Britain, London, UK
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France
First Bank of Minnesota
Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Fondation Leitz, Rueil-Malmaison, France
Fondation Nationale pour la Photographie, Paris, France
Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich, Switzerland
Galerie du Château d’Eau, Toulouse, France
International Museum of Photography, Rochester, NY
Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
International Center of Photography, New York, NY
Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Kiyosato, Japan
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota
Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France
Musée de l’Élysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
Museum of the Moving Image, New York, France
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
New York Historical Society New York, NY
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. San Francisco, CA
The Archive of Modern Conflict, London, England
The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England



Telex Persan. With Gholam Hassan Saedi. France: Contrejour, 1984; Telex Iran, USA: Aperture, 1984, ISBN 978-0-89381-118-1; Switzerland: Scalo, 1997, ISBN 978-3-931141-36-3

Eye for an Eye. New York: Aperture, 1988.

Farewell to Bosnia. Switzerland: Scalo, USA: Distributed Art Publishers, 1994. ISBN 978-1-881616-22-1

The Silence. Rwanda. Switzerland/USA/Germany: Scalo, 1995. ISBN 978-1-881616-38-2

The Graves: Srebrenica and Vukovar. Switzerland/USA/Germany Scalo, 1998. With Eric Stover. ISBN 978-3-931141-76-9

Here is New York: A Democracy of Photographs. Scalo, 2002. Photography collective. Photo editing, sequencing, and design by Peress. ISBN 3-908-247-66-7

A Village Destroyed. UC Press, 2002. Photographs by Peress, with text by Eric Stover and Fred Abrahams. ISBN 0-520-23303-4

Haines, Photo Poche. Actes Sud, 2004. Photographs and text by Peress. ISBN 2-7427-5355-9

The Rockaways. Concord Free Press, 2013. Photographs by Peress, edited with an introduction by Hamilton Fish. ISBN 978-0-9847078-8-1