Saturday, 7 March 2009

Frontline Club: Reza

The Frontline Club
(I need to really make an effort and drop by this week while I'm in London) has featured a presentation by Reza, the Iran-born photojournalist who photographed most of the globe for National Geographic and other major international publications. He presented and talked about a selection of work from his new book War + Peace.The presentation lasts for a little less than two hours, which makes me wish that they had edited it...but it's certainly an interesting insight into a photojournalism legend.

In the course of his photo reportages across the world's trouble spots, this modern-day Ibn Battuta has met a cast of extraordinary characters, befriending personalities as diverse as the Dalai Lama and the late Ahmed Shah Massoud, the Lion of Panshir.

Throughout the 1970s and '80s, Reza worked for Agence France Presse, served as Tehran correspondent for Newsweek, and was the Middle East correspondent for Time. He also served as a consultant for United Nations Programming in Afghanistan in 1989-90. In the years since, he has also photographed for Figaro, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times Magazine.

Reza's work has been published and exhibited in Canada, Cuba, England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Libya, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States.

In 1996 Reza won the Hope Prize for his efforts on behalf of Rwandan refugees. In 2001 he founded AÏNA, Afghan Media and Culture Centre to bring a free press to a nation silenced by the Taliban. He was again honoured in 2005 when Christian Poncelet, president of the French senate, presented him with the title of Chevalier de l'Ordre du Mérite, the national award for distinguished public or private service. And in 2006, Spain's Crown Prince Felipe presented him with the Principe de Asturias Medal. That same year, he also received the Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.