Moises Saman was born in Lima, Peru, to a mixed Spanish and Peruvian family. At the age of one, his family relocated to Barcelona, Spain, where he spent most of his youth. He studied communications and sociology in the United States at California State University, graduating in 1998. It was during his last year in university that Saman first became interested in becoming a photographer, influenced by the work of a number of photojournalists who had been covering the wars in the Balkans.
In 2000, Saman joined Newsday as a staff photographer. During his seven years there, his work focused on covering the fallout of the 9/11 attacks, spending most of his time traveling between Afghanistan, Iraq, and other Middle Eastern countries.
In the fall of 2007, he left Newsday to become a freelance photographer for The New York Times, while also becoming a contributor for The New Yorker, National Geographic, Human Rights Watch, Newsweek, and TIME Magazine, among other international publications. In 2010, he was invited to join Magnum Photos as a nominee and became a full member in 2014.
He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in photography in 2015 for his work on the Arab Spring, culminating in the publication of Discordia, a multilayered visual representation of the Arab Spring.