b. 1946


Based in New York, USA


Available for commissions
& assignments

Gilles Peress started using photography to create museum installations and books in 1971, having previously studied political science and philosophy in Paris. Peress’s experiences during the Iranian Revolution produced the seminal photobook Telex Iran. In the 1990s, extended explorations of the conflicts and genocides in Rwanda (The Silence) and the Balkans (Farewell to Bosnia; Graves: Srebrenica and Vukovar) evolved into “Hate Thy Brother,” a cycle of interlocking narratives in books and on walls. In recent years, Peress has continued “Hate Thy Brother” by revisiting both archival work and the sites where it was made.

In 2021, Peress published Whatever You Say, Say Nothing, his two-volume, 1000-page book on the Troubles in the North of Ireland, which Peter Galassi of the Museum of Modern Art described as having “the gripping immediacy and epic sweep of a novel by Tolstoy.” A work of “documentary fiction” that organizes a decade of photographs from the 1980s into 22 semi-fictional days, the book articulates the helicoidal structure that time assumed during the conflict, where today is not only today, but all the days like today.

Each of Peress’s projects has been widely exhibited. His work is included in major private and public collections throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; New York’s Museum of Modern Art; Art Institute of Chicago; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; J. Paul Getty Museum; National Gallery of Ireland; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Victoria and Albert Museum; Fotomuseum Winterthur; and Musée de l’Élysée, among others.

Peress has been the recipient of many awards and fellowships, including the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Dr. Erich Salomon Prize, a Pollock–Krasner Grant, multiple National Endowment for the Arts grants, the New York State Council of the Arts Fellowship, and multiple International Center of Photography Infinity Awards.

Peress is Professor of Human Rights and Photography at Bard College, New York, and Senior Research Fellow at the Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley. Peress joined Magnum Photos in 1971 and served three times as vice-president and twice as president.

Selected works


The Silence: 25 Years Since the Rwandan Genocide

Gilles Peress

Author Philip Gourevitch’s memories and Gilles Peress' images: the importance of documenting atrocity

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