INsight Artist, 2009

“Is a picture worth a thousand words? It depends on the picture. These photographs are so overwhelming that words, any words, seem trite.” —Raul Nino, poet

Gilles Peress is an internationally renowned photographer. Having studied political science and philosophy in Paris, he began working with photography in 1970. He has documented events in Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, Bosnia, Rwanda, 9-11, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Peress often represents the complexity of conflict in his acclaimed books by using minimal text, juxtaposing mundane detail with unfolding catastrophe. For him, there is never a clear distinction between war and peace… “War is never total war; in the same way, peace is never total peace.”

Currently Professor of Human Rights and Photography at Bard College, NY, and Senior Research Fellow at the Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley, Peress continues to develop his ongoing project titled Hate Thy Brother, a cycle of documentary narratives that looks at intolerance and its consequences.

A member of Magnum since 1972, his work is exhibited and collected internationally by the MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, and PS1; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Corcoran Gallery; the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; The Centre Georges Pompidou Musee D’Art Moderne; and the Folkwang and Sprengel Museum. Awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, multiple NEA grants, the W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography, multiple ICP Infinity Awards and the Pollock-Krasner grant. 

His books include Haines (2004); A Village Destroyed (2002); The Graves: Srebrenica and Vukovar (1998); The Silence: Rwanda (1995); Farewell to Bosnia (1994); and Telex Iran (1984, 1997 reprint).