Richard Kalvar has photographed delegates meeting for over a decade during the World Economic Forum in Davos
"The photograph is completely abstracted from life, yet it looks like life. That is what has always excited me about photography"
- Richard Kalvar
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.