Gilles Peress is a French photographer and a member of Magnum Photos.
Peress began working with photography in 1970, having previously studied political science and philosophy in Paris. One of Peress' first projects examined immigration in Europe, and he has since documented events in Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, the Balkans, Rwanda, the U.S., Afghanistan and Iraq. His ongoing project, Hate Thy Brother, a cycle of documentary narratives, looks at intolerance and the re-emergence of nationalism throughout the world and its consequences.
Peress' books include Whatever You Say, Say Nothing; Annals of the North; Telex Iran; The Silence: Rwanda; Farewell to Bosnia; The Graves: Srebrenica and Vukovar; A Village Destroyed; and Haines.
Peress' work has been exhibited and is collected by the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art and MoMA PS1, all in New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Victoria and Albert Museum in London; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Musée Picasso, Parc de la Villette and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris; Museum Folkwang, Essen; and Sprengel Museum in Hannover.
Awards and fellowships Peress has received include a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts grants, Pollock-Krasner and New York State Council on the Arts fellowships, the W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography and the International Center of PhotographyInfinity Award.
Peress is a Professor of Human Rights and Photography at Bard College in New York and a Senior Research Fellow at the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley. Peress joined Magnum Photos in 1971 and served three times as vice president and twice as president of the co-operative."Telex: Iran" is an extraordinarily personal document of a public event. The photographs Gilles Peress took over a five-week period from 1979-to 1980 focus on the seizure of the American embassy and a number of hostages in Teheran by student proxy groups of the new Iranian regime. However, the book forms neither a study nor an analysis of that singular event. Peress' photographs do not purport to tell the story - any story - but are the nearly seismographic record of the photojournalist's perceptions, encounters, and not least, his emotions as he moves through the city and the countryside of a nation in upheaval. Involved one day, alienated the next; insightful in Tabriz, at sea in Qom; attracted to one subject, repelled by another, "Telex: Iran" beats out the raw rhythms of Iran's dislocations, both historical and individual. First published in 1984, this exceptionally designed book established Gilles Peress' reputation as a photojournalist. The reissue of "Telex Iran" in 1997 shows that these photos only gain impact with Iran's continuing role as a key player in the Middle East.