Iranian/French, b. 1944
Born a photographer, Abbas, an Iranian transplanted to Paris, has dedicated his work to the political and social coverage of the developing South. Since 1970, his major work, published in world magazines, includes wars and revolutions in Biafra, Bangladesh, Ulster, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa with an essay on apartheid.
From 1978 to 1980, Abbas photographed the revolution in Iran, to which he returned in 1997 after seventeen years of voluntary exile. His book Iran Diary 1971-2002 (Autrement 2002) is a critical interpretation of Iranian history, photographed and written as a personal diary.
From 1983 and 1986 he travels in Mexico, photographing the country as if writing a novel. An exhibition and a book, Return to Mexico: Journeys Beyond the Mask (W.W.Norton 1992), which includes his travel diaries, helpe him define his aesthetics in photography.
From 1987 to 1994, from the Xinjiang to Morocco, he photographs the resurgence of Islam. His book and exhibit Allah O Akbar: A Journey Through Militant Islam (Phaidon 1994) exposes the internal tensions within Muslim societies, torn between a mythical past and a desire for modernisation and democracy.
When the year 2000 becomes a landmark in the universal calendar, Christianity is the symbol of the strength of Western civilization. Faces of Chritianity, a photographic journey (A.Abrams 2000) and a touring exhibit, explores the religion as a political, a ritual and a spiritual phenomenon.
From 2000 to 2002 he works on Animism. His book Sur la route des Esprits 'Delpire 2005) explores the reasons for the come-back of irrational rituals in our world defined by science ans technology.
His book In Whose Name? The Islamic World after 9/11 (Thames and Hudson 2009) is a seven years quest within 16 countries : opposed by governments who hunt them mercilessly, the jihadists lose many battles, but are they not winning the war to control the mind of the people, with the "creeping islamisation" of all Muslim societies?
From 2008 to 2010 Abbas travelled the world of Buddhism, photographing with the same sceptical eye for his book Les Enfants du Lotus, voyage chez les Bouddhistes. In 2011 he started a similar long term project on Hinduism.
A member of Sipa from 1971 to 1973, then of Gamma from 1974 to 1980, Abbas joined Magnum Photos in 1981 and became a member in 1985.
2011 Abbas, 45 Years in Photography - The National Museum of Singapore
2009 In Whose Name? - Magnum Gallery, Paris; Visa, Perignan; Polka Gallery, Paris
2008 The Children of Abraham - RIP, Fez, Morrocco; Le Botanique, Bruxelles, Belgium
2007 The Children of Abraham - Noorderlicht, Groningen, Netherlands; Exposorium Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2006 The Children of Abraham - Nobel Peace Center, Oslo, Norway
2006 Islams and Shias - Vicino/Lontano, Udine, Italy
2005 Sur la Route des Esprits, La Chambre Claire, France
2004 Iran - Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
2004 Resurgence of Shias - Visa in Perpignan, France
2004 Ya Saddam - Noorderlicht, Leeuwarden, Netherlands
2004 Islams - The United Nations, New York, USA
2003 Visiones de l'Islam - La Caixa, Girona, Granada, Pamplona and Palma de Mallorca,
2002 Iran, the Revolution - The Grey Gallery, New York, USA
2002 Viaggio Negli Islam del Mondo - Palazzo Vecchio, Firenze, Italy
2002 Visiones de l'Islam - la Caixa, Tarragona, Madrid, Malaga, Orense, Spain
2002 IranDiary - Visa in Perpignan, France
1999 Islamies - Place Royale, Brussels, Belgium; Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France
1999 Chrétiens - House of Photography, Moscow, Russia; Eberhardskirche, Stuttgart,
1994 Retornos a Mexico - Centro Nacional de la Fotografia, Mexico
1992 Return to Mexico - Mexico Cultural Center, Paris; Maison pour Tous, Calais, France
1991 Retrospective - Imagina, Almeria, Spain
1986 Votez pour Moi - Galerie Magnum, Paris, France
1984 Retrospective - Galerie ARPA, Bordeaux, France
1983 Retrospective - Consejo de Fotografia, Mexico
1982 Citizen of the Third World – The Photographers' Gallery, London, England; Open Eye
Gallery, Liverpool, England
1980 Iran, the Revolution - Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran, Iran; Darvazeh Ghar
mosque, Tehran, Iran; Fundacao Cultural, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1977 Retrospective - Galerie Litho, Tehran, Iran
Ce jour-là - Galerie FNAC, Paris
1972 Ganvie People - Falomo, Nigeria
2011 Les Enfants du lotus, voyage chez les Bouddhistes, de la Martinière, Paris
2010 Ali, the Fight, Editions Sonatines, Paris
2009 In Whose Name?, Thames and Hudson, London & New York
Au Nom de Qui?, Editions du Pacifique, Paris
2006 The Children of Abraham, Intervalles, France
2005 Abbas, I Grandi Fotografi di Magnum, Hachette, Italy
2005 IranDiaro: 1971-2005, Saggiatore, Italy
2005 Sur la Route des Esprits, Delpire, France
2002 IranDiary: 1971-2002, Autrement, France
2000 Faces of Christianity: A Photographic Journey, A. Abrams, USA
1994 Allah O Akbar: A Journey Through Militant Islam, Phaidon, UK
Allah O Akbar - Voyages dans l'Islam militant, Phaidon, France
Allah O Akbar - Viaggio negli islam del mondo, Contrasto, Italy
1992 Return to Mexico: Journeys Beyond the Mask, W.W. Norton, USA
1986 Retornos a Oapan, FCE, Mexico
1980 Iran: La Revolution Confisquée, Editions Cletrat, France
1977 Zaire Today, Editions Jeune Afrique, France