ExplorersBio

Reza

Photographer/Humanitarian

Fellow (2006-2012)

Photo: Tora Bora girl

Photograph by Reza

Photo: Reza, photographer, humanitarian

Photograph by Mark Thiessen

As a philanthropist, idealist, and humanist, Reza’s career began with studies in architecture. He has gone on to become a renowned photojournalist who, for the last three decades, has worked all over the world, notably for National Geographic. His assignments have taken him to over a hundred countries as a witness to humanity’s conflicts and catastrophes. His work is featured in international media (National Geographic, Time Magazine, Stern, Newsweek, El País, and Paris Match), as well as a series of books, exhibitions, and documentaries made for the National Geographic Channel.

Along with his work as a photographer, since 1983 Reza has been a volunteer committed to the training of youths and women from conflict-ridden societies in the language of images, to help them strive for a better world. In 2001, he founded Ainaworld in Afghanistan, a new generation NGO which trains populations in information and communications through the development of educational tools and adapted media. While pursuing his reportages for international media outlets, Reza has continued to conduct workshops on the language of images in a variety of formats (onsite and online) through his association Reza Visual Academy. He works with refugees, urban youths in Europe, and others from disadvantaged backgrounds.

After his work, Mémoires d’Exil (“Memories of Exile”) shown at the Louvre Carrousel in 1998, he has shared his humanitarian vision through a series of monumental installations: Crossing Destinies, shown on the grilles of the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, One World, One Tribe in Washington DC, and the Parc de la Villette in Paris, War + Peace at the Caen Memorial and on the banks of the Garonne in Toulouse, Hope in Doha (Qatar), Windows of the Soul in Corsica, Soul of Coffee, 250 photographic exhibitions throughout the world, including major installations on the banks of the Seine, or at Kew Gardens in London, Land of Tolerance at the UN Headquarters in New York, the European Parliament in Brussels, as well as UNESCO in Paris. In 2014, Azerbaijan: the Elegance of Fire, presented at the Petit Palais revealed a little-known people with an ancestral culture, turned towards modernity. Finally, the giant panorama A Dream of Humanity was featured along the banks of the Seine during the summer of 2015, showing portraits of refugees around the world taken by Reza and photographs taken by refugee children in Iraqi Kurdistan who were trained as “camp reporters” at the workshops organized by Reza Visual Academy.

Author of 29 books, and a recipient of many awards over the course of his career, Reza is a National Geographic explorer, and a Senior Fellow of the Ashoka Foundation. Reza’s work has been recognized by World Press Photo; he has also received the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, the Lucy Award, an honorary medal from the University of Missouri, and the honorary degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from the American University of Paris. France has also appointed him a Chevalier of the National Order of Merit.

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

  • <p>Photo: Veiled woman</p>

    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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