ExplorersBio

Reza

Photographer/Humanitarian

Fellow

Photo: Tora Bora girl

Photograph by Reza

Photo: Reza, photographer, humanitarian

Photograph by Mark Thiessen

Reza, one of the best-known photojournalists in the world, has captured the beauty and turmoil of the Middle and Far East for such magazines as National Geographic, Newsweek, Time, and GEO.

Reza was born in Tabriz, Iran, in 1952 and studied architecture at the University of Tehran. He taught himself the principles of photography at the age of 14. From 1971 to 1978, he photographed rural society and architecture in his homeland. The Iranian revolution shifted his focus from the countryside, and he covered the conflict for Agence France-Presse and Sipa Press.

His work for Sipa Press attracted the attention of Newsweek, for whom he became a correspondent in Iran from 1978 to 1981. He then became a Middle East correspondent for Time from 1983 to 1988. From 1989 to 1990 Reza served as a consultant to the United Nations humanitarian program in Afghanistan. Since 1991 he has mainly divided his time between photographing for National Geographic and working for AïNA, a nonprofit NGO he founded for the development of independent media and cultural expression in Afghanistan. Reza has contributed to a number of books, is a regular correspondent for BBC Persian and Radio France Internationale Persian, and has taught at such schools as the Ecole d'Art in Paris, Stanford University, and Georgetown University.

In 2005, he was honored with the Chevalier de l'Ordre du Mérité, the French award for distinguished services in a public or private capacity. In 2006, he received the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism "in recognition of his lifelong contributions, through brilliant photojournalism, to justice, and dignity for the world's citizens."

Latest Explorer News

Support My Project

  • Photo: Tora Bora girl

    Aina World: From Nest to Flight

    In partnership with the Afghan NGO Aschiana, a center serving Kabul's street children, From Nest to Flight promotes an informal system of education through the creation and diffusion of the educational children's magazine Parvaz. Spearheaded by the humanitarian organization Aina, this project simultaneously aims to give young Afghans a practical training in the journalism and publishing industries.

In National Geographic Magazine

  • Photo: Veiled woman

    Struggle for the Soul of Pakistan

    Sixty years after its founding as a homeland for India's Muslims, Pakistan straddles the fault line between moderate and militant Islam.

  • Photo: Reza in Pakistan

    Field Notes From Reza

    We visited two places that are normally off-limits to journalists. These were unforgettable and important moments for me for very different reasons.

  • Photos: Elders of the Wazir tribe gather

    On Bin Laden's Trail

    Trailing bin Laden along the smugglers' crossroads near Afghanistan's desert border with Iran, through the craggy mountains of the Hindu Kush, and even in Peshawar and Karachi.

In Their Words

The world is our field of vision. We are the storytellers of a humanity whose culture we share. From war to peace, from atrocities to poetry, our testimonies tell these moments of life.

—Reza

Projects

  • Image: Children's Eyes on Earth

    Children's Eyes on Earth

    In this contest, Reza challenges kids to artistically cultivate an environmental connection through photography.

Videos

  • Reaching the Public

    National Geographic explorers Kirsten Elstner, Ben Horton, and Reza discuss how the emotional impact of a photo can engage and motivate audiences and communities into action.

Photos

  • Photo: Whirling dervishes

    Pakistan Photos

    The nation's efforts to straddle the fault line between moderate and militant Islam offer a cautionary tale for the post-9/11 world.

Audio

Reza

Hear an interview with Reza on National Geographic Weekend.

  • For the past 30 years, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Reza has traveled all over the world photographing people in war-torn countries. Reza joins Boyd in the studio to talk about his new book, Reza War & Peace: A Photographer’s Journey, a photographic chronicle of his life and travels.

  • For the past 30 years, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Reza has traveled all over the world photographing people in war-torn countries. Reza joins Boyd in the studio to talk about his new book, Reza War & Peace: A Photographer’s Journey, a photographic chronicle of his life and travels.

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