Patrick Zachmann • Photographer Profile • Magnum Photos

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"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

b. 1955


Based in Paris, France


Available for commissions
& assignments

As a freelance photographer since 1976 and a member of Magnum Photos since 1990, Patrick Zachmann has dedicated himself to long-term works , books and video films , all dealing with the themes of memory, identities and immigration.

In 1982 his work on the Naples police and mafia -the Camorra- led to a collection of  cinematographic photographs that became his first book Madonna! in 1983, accompanied by a fictional novel inspired by his pictures. From 1982 to 1984, besides a project on highway landscapes supported by the French Ministry of Culture, Patrick Zachmann explored the lives of immigrant teenagers in the north neighbourhoods of Marseille.

Over the course of seven years he explored jewish identities in France ending up with a chapter on his own family. That led to his second book “Enquête d’identité ou Un juif à la recherche de sa memoire” (“Inquest of identity or a Jew searching for his memory”) in 1987.

In 1989, his feature of the events on Tiananmen Square in Beijing was widely published in the international press. In the same year he was awarded the prestigious Prix Niepce for his work.

Over a period of six years, Zachmann pursued an in-depth work on the Chinese diaspora in different parts of the world. This gave rise to the publication of ” W. ou l’œil d’un long-nez” (“W. or the eye of a long-nose”) in 1995, which was hailed by critics. The book was accompanied by an exhibition that traveled to ten countries in Asia and Europe, except in China where it was censored.

Between 1996 and 1998, Patrick Zachmann directed the short film La Mémoire de mon père (“My father’s memory”), followed by his first feature-length film Aller-retour: Journal d’un photograph (“Back and Forth, diary of a photographer”), which deals with the disappearance of traces of memory and of the bodies, especially in Chile, and how photography can interfere in the process of recovering memory.

In 2006, Zachmann started working on a new project in China titled Chinese confusions, for which he was awarded the l’Aide à la Création de la Délégation aux Arts Plastiques (DAP).
He gives lectures and leading Masterclasses at the Paris Art School “Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs”, the Academy of Graphic Design and Photography in Rome, in China and all over the world.

Between 2006 and 2008, Patrick Zachmann worked on a feature film titled Bar Centre des Autocars. It is an investigation into the lives of the ten young kids he had met and photographed in Marseille’s poorest suburbs twenty years earlier. In May 2009, the photographer and film maker presented a retrospective on his 25 years’ work concerned with immigration and suburbs in France at la Cité Nationale d’Histoire de l’Immigration (CNHI) in Paris, (“National Museum of Immigration’s History”).

A book, awarded in 2009, came out with the exhibition called “My dearest suburb” (Ma proche banlieue).

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.

Patrick Zachmann has been working on a project covering illegal immigration in Europe. He portrayed immigrants on their journeys through Malta, France and Greece. A documentary on the fate of a Somali emigrant has been shown on the France5 website and national channel.

He has been selected as one of the artists assigned for Marseille-Provence 2013 for which he presented an exhibition, including a movie and a book called Mare Mater in Marseille at Le Mucem Museum, in 2013 and in Châlons sur Saone at the beginning of 2015.

A book and an exhibition on his work in China, 30 after this original work, called  So long, China  got a strong reaction and the book was published by Xavier Barral. It received the 2016 Nadar Award.

He is represented by Magnum Gallery and Clair Gallery.

EXHIBITIONS (selection):

2016 A retrospective of China work at the MEP (Maison Européenne de
Photographie) in Paris.
2015 “Mare Mater” at Nicephore Niepce Museum of Photography in Châlon sur Saône, France.
2013-2014 “Mare Mater”. Museum of Mucem,
Marseille-Provence 2013. Nov 2013/ Jan 2014 and International Festival of Photography in Reggio
Emilia, Italy.
2012 “Ma proche banlieue” au Festival International de Photographie
de Tekesi (Chine-Xinjiang)
Festival de Photographie du Xishuanbana (Chine-Yunnan)
2011 Petit Palais Museum, Paris. “Women changing India”
Carré d’Art, Nîmes. “Pékin 1989, un printemps chinois”.
Galerie Clair, München. “View New York”. (collective)
Exhibition-installation photo and video in Greece. French Institute of Thessaloniki.
2010 Exhibition “Real or Fake?” at photo festival in Lianzhou, China.
Exhibition “The city Stripped Bare”, Magnum Galery, London.
Retrospective of Niepce prize at the Montparnasse Museum and the Collection of Jewish Museum of
Art, Paris, Mois de la Photo.
“Patrick Zachmann”, Clair Gallery, München, Germany.
“Un jour, la nuit”. Galerie Negpos, Nîmes, France.
Series “Paysages autoroutiers”. Galerie Magnum, Paris-St. Germain, France.
2009 Ma proche banlieue. Cité Nationale d’Histoire de l’Immigration (CNHI), Paris, France.
Un jour, la nuit. Galerie Les Voutes. Les frigos, Paris, France.
2008 Confusions chinoises. Faux-semblants, Festival de Photographies en Plein Air, La Gacilly, France.
L’oeil d’un long-nez. Hartlepool Art Gallery, Newcastle, United Kingdom.
2007 L’image d’après. Le cinéma dans l’imaginaire de la photographie (group show). Cinémathèque
Française, Paris, France.
2005/2006 Euro Visions (group show). Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Ludwig Museum
Budapest, Hungary.
2004 Musulmanes, Musulmans (group show). Parc de La Villette, Paris, France.
2001-2004 Chili. Une mémoire en route. Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago de Chile, Chile; Centre d’Histoire
de la Résistance et de la Déportation, Lyon, France; International Photography Festival,
Pingyao, China; International Photography Festival FotoGrafia, Rome, Italy; Galerie des l’Institut
Français, Barcelona, Spain.
1997 “Malians,here and there”. Parc de la Villette, Paris, France.
1995/1997/2000 L’oeil d’un long-nez. Shown in ten Asian countries. Visa pour l’Image, Perpignan, France;
Photographer’s Gallery, London, United Kingdom; Sala Municipal, Valladolid, Spain.
1984/1987-1998 Enquête d’identité. Galerie Photo FNAC Forum, Paris, France; Galerie Magnum, Paris;
Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme, Paris, France.
Mare Mater, Editions Actes Sud, France, 2013.
Ma proche banlieue (My dearest suburbs), Editions Xavier Barral, France, 2009
Photo Poche Patrick Zachmann, Robert Delpire, France, 2009
Good Nights, Biro éditeur, France, 2008
Les grands photographes de Magnum. Patrick Zachmann, 2006
Chili, les routes de la mémoire, Marval, France, 2002
Maliens, ici et là-bas, Plume, France, 1997
20 ans de rêves, Syria Editions,Paris, 1994
W. ou l’oeil d’un long-nez, Marval, France, 1995
Enquête d’identité, Contrejour, France, 1987
Madonna!, Cahiers du Cinéma, France, 1983

Magnum Paris, Flammarion, Thames and Hudson.
Magnum Contact, Thames and Hudson, 2011
Women changing India, Zhuban, 2011
Le printemps géorgien, Textuel, 2010
The image after, Barral, 2007
Magnum Magnum, Thames and Hudson, 2007
Eurovisions, Barral, 2006
Magnum Stories, Phaidon, 2004
Magnum Degré, Phaidon, 2000

2016 Nadar Award for the book « So long, China », Xavier Barral publisher.
2013 Bourse d’aide à la Production et de la création du Ministère de la Culture.
2009 Plus Beaux Livres de l’Année for Ma proche banlieue (Ed. Barral), Paris.
2007 Aide à la Création de la Délégation aux Arts Plastiques (DAP) Ministry of Culture, Paris.
1992 Art Directors Club Merit Award, New York.
1989 Prix Niépce, Paris.
1986 Prix Villa Médicis Hors Les Murs, Paris.
AWARDS FILM (selection):
The memory of my father: First Prize of the Les Ecrans du Documentaires festival, France, 2000
In the official selection of the Festival du Réel au Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1999
Back and Forth. Diary of a photographer: Grand Prix Festival de Creación Audiovisual, Pamplona, 2002
Selected and presented at Etats Généraux du Film Documentaire Lussas, 2002
A Somalian in Paris: Official selection at Meditteranean film and multimedia Festival in Marseille, dec.2011

To mark the twentieth anniversary of the events on Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989, Patrick Zachmann realized a multimedia documentary film called Generation Tiananmen produced in 2009 by Narrative.
The movie was shown on the websites of, Der Spiegel and Aljazeera. See it here:

Zachmann made a multimedia documentary produced by Narrative on the story of Abdirisaak, a young somalian migrant he met in Malta in a refugee camp and who he made the trip to France with and followed his integration process in Nanterre, Paris’ suburbs.

This multimedia piece called A Somalian in Paris produced by Narrative in 2009-2010, was broadcasted on France5 french television and on Narrative websites.
see it in English here, and in French here.

Recent project, Changing India for Magnum and BNP Foundation.

2013 Long feature movie Mare Mater. 52mn. English version. format 16/9. Triptyque. (needs big screen). Digital file. Selected at Inrenational Festival of Lussas (France) and Festival of Documentary in Glasgow.
Short feature on Sergio Larrain and Patrick Zachmann’s meeting in Chile: Traces dune rencontre, produced by Ina and les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie and shown in Arles in July 2013.
2008 Long feature movie Bar Centre des Autocars. Production: Les Films d’Ici (56 Min.). English version. Beta Numerique.
Selected by the Festival Méditéranéen, Marseille and Turin (2008); presented during the exhibition Ma proche banlieue, Cité Nationale d’Histoire de l’Immigration, Paris.
Broadcasted at France3 television.

2002 First long Feature movie: Back and Forth. Diary of a photographer. Production: l’INA (68 min.). English version.
Selected and presented by Etats Généraux du Film Documentaire Lussas (2002); Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles; Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur (Belgium); Festival de Creación Audiovisual, Pamplona (Grand Prix Festival de Navarre 2002); International Documentary Film Festival, Santiago de Chile (Director: Patricio Guzman); Human Rights Festival Buenos Aires; Centre d’Histoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation, Lyon (2002); Internationales Filmfestival der Menschenrechte, Nuremberg (2003); International Exile-Film-Festival, Sweden; Festival de Documentaires by Arte in l’Espace Confluences and la Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris and at la Maison de l’Amérique Latine; at cinéma la Palette, Tournus; l’Espace Culturel François Mitterand during the Month of Documentary Film and at Centre Georges Pompidou on the occasion of the annual meeting of international authors in exile.

Part of the Présence du documentaire contemporain programme, Musée du Jeu de Paume (2004); shown at l’Institut Français, Barcelona (2005).
1998 Short-movie The memory of my father ( Gédéon Programme; 31 min.). English version.
Officially selected and presented by Festival du Réel au Centre Goerges Pompidou (1999), Festival Les Ecrans du Documentaire(2000, First Prize).
Shown by Cinéma des Cinéastes par Doc sur Grand Ecran in the Vies privées programme; selected by Festival Côté CourtPantin (2000).
Presented at La Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaisme, Paris (2000); Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago de Chile; the International Photography Festival, Pingyao; Forum des Images, Paris (2002); University of Vichy (Memoire et images;2003). Presented at Cinéma La Palette, Tournus, during the Month of Documentary Film and at the Les Ecrans du Documentaire Festival (on demand of Joëlle Van Effenterre) as well as at Cinéma des Cinéastes par Doc sur Grand Ecran Affaires de familles programme (2003).

1994 Shortfilm video featuring an emigrant from Mali wh o is returning to his home village. Presented in La Villette accompanying the exhibition Maliens, ici et là-bas.

1993 Shortfilm video featuring Belleville for the series The Magnum Eye, broadcast on Japanese Television (NHK; 10 min.).

1992 Video contribution to Jean-Christophe Victor’s Hong-Kong, 1997: Arte (26min).

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