The tremendous power and complex mysteries that lie at the heart Chinese culture, documented in Patrick Zachmann's decade-long cross-cultural study
"I became a photographer because I have no memory. Photography allows me to reconstruct the family albums I never had, the missing images becoming the engine of my research. My contact sheets are my personal diary"
- Patrick Zachmann
For more than 40 years, Patrick Zachmann has produced acclaimed, long-term projects that use photography and film to explore themes of memory, identity and immigration. He has documented the Chinese Diaspora, Jewish identity and the plight of migrants in Marseilles, all the while pushing himself to subvert his ‘style’ by working with both analogue and digital, colour and black and white, and using multimedia formats. “I don’t want to repeat myself like many photographers do by developing a special style,” he says of his practice.
Zachmann was born in 1955 in Choisy-le-Roi, France and became a freelance photographer in 1976. In 1982 he began an in-depth project on the Naples police and mafia, which resulted in his first monograph, Madonna! (1983), accompanied by a fictional novel inspired by his pictures. Following that he began a seven-year study of Jewish identity in France—finishing with his own family—which resulted in his second book, Enquête d’identité. Un Juif à la Recherche de sa Mémoire / Investigation of Identity. A Jew in Search of his Memory (1987).
In 1989, his coverage of the events in Tiananmen Square, Beijing was widely published in the international press. In the same year, he was awarded the prestigious Prix Niépce for his work. To mark the twentieth anniversary of the events on Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989, Zachmann made a web-documentary “Generation Tiananmen” in 2009, shown on Le Monde, Der Spiegel and Al Jazeera’s websites.
He is represented by Magnum Gallery, Clair Gallery (München) and Beaugeste Gallery (Shanghai). Zachmann joined Magnum in 1985 and became a member in 1990.