"The photograph is completely abstracted from life, yet it looks like life. That is what has always excited me about photography"

- Richard Kalvar

b. 1944


Based in Paris, France


Available for commissions
& assignments

Ambiguity is at the forefront of Richard Kalvar’s photography. Kalvar, who describes context as the “enemy”, seeks mystery and multiple meaning through surprising framing and meticulous timing. He describes his approach as “more like poetry than photojournalism – it attacks on the emotional level.” He has done extensive personal, assignment and commercial work in the United States, France, Italy, England, and Japan, among others.

Kalvar has published a number of solo books: Portrait de Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 1993; Earthlings (Terriens), 2007;Drôles de vie!, 2008; Richard Kalvar: Photo Poche, 2018; Richard Kalvar: Photofile (the English-language version of Photo Poche), 2019; and Magnum, la Storia, le Immagini: Richard Kalvar, 2019. He has had important exhibitions in the US, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, and has participated in multiple group books and exhibitions in America and Europe, notably Centre Pompidou Album Photographique 1, 1979, L’Usine, 1987, and in several Magnum books, most recently Magnum Contact Sheets, 2013, Magnum Analog Recovery, 2017 and Magnum Manifesto, 2017.

Kalvar’s work has appeared in Geo, The Paris Review, Creative Camera, Aperture, Zoom, Newsweek, and Photo, among many others. Editorial assignments and even commercial work have given Kalvar an additional opportunity to do personal photography. He did many documentary stories that allowed him to disengage from documentary mode when the occasion arose.

Kalvar joined Magnum as an associate member in 1975, and became a full member two years later. He subsequently served several times as vice president, and once as president of the agency.

Read More

Selected works


World Economic Forum: Davos 1999-2011

Richard Kalvar

Richard Kalvar has photographed delegates meeting for over a decade during the World Economic Forum in Davos

Open story

From the Magnum Shop

Most Recent


Quarantine Conversations: Susan Meiselas and Richard Kalvar

Magnum Photographers

Theme | 18 Stories

Quarantine Conversations


Quarantine Conversations: Richard Kalvar and Jérôme Sessini

Magnum Photographers

Theme | 31 Stories

Magnum Photos on COVID-19

Theme | 36 Stories

New York: Photographing the City

Theme | 17 Stories

Magnum Contact Sheets

Theme | 7 Stories

Living With the Land

Theory & Practice

Making the Image: Richard Kalvar’s Woman in the Window

Richard Kalvar

Theory & Practice

Richard Kalvar: A Question of Feeling

Richard Kalvar

Past Exhibition
Paris, France

From Here

Magnum Photographers
Until May 31, 2019

Paris, France. 1994.

Richard Kalvar

New York City, USA. 1969.

Richard Kalvar

Past Workshop
Hong Kong, Hong Kong

City Landscape Workshop with Jean Gaumy and Richard Kalvar in Hong Kong

Magnum Photographers
Apr 10 - 14

Arts & Culture

The Strangeness of Earthlings

Richard Kalvar

Past Workshop
Bangkok, Thailand

Street Photography Masterclass with Richard Kalvar

Richard Kalvar
Feb 28 - Mar 2

Past Book Signing
Paris, France

Magnum Paris Christmas Sale

Magnum Photographers
Dec 13 2018 · Free