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World famous for his intrepid explorer’s style of photographing the
most exotic places, Reza has covered most of the globe for National
Geographic and other major international publications.
In the course of his photo reportages across the world’s trouble
spots, this modern-day Ibn Battuta has met a cast of extraordinary
characters, befriending personalities as diverse as the Dalai Lama and
the late Ahmed Shah Massoud, the lion of Panshir.
Reza was born July 26, 1952, in Tabriz, Iran. In 1968 he began
teaching himself photography. Three years later, he entered the
University of Tehran, where he studied architecture.
Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, Reza worked for Agence France Presse,
served as Tehran correspondent for Newsweek, and was the Middle East
correspondent for Time. He also served as a consultant for United
Nations Programming in Afghanistan in 1989-90. At that time, he began
photographing for UNICEF and going on assignment for National Geographic
magazine, for which he has shot such articles as “Abraham: Journey of
Faith” and “Tracking the Ghost of bin Laden in the Land of the Pashtun.”
In the years since, he has also photographed for Figaro, Vanity Fair,
and the New York Times Magazine.
Reza’s work has been published and exhibited in Canada, Cuba,
England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Libya, the Netherlands, Pakistan,
Spain, Switzerland, and the United States.
In 1996 Reza won the Hope Prize for his efforts on behalf of Rwandan
refugees. In 2001 he founded AÏNA, Afghan Media and Culture Center to
bring a free press to a nation silenced by the Taliban. He was again
honored in 2005 when Christian Poncelet, president of the French senate,
presented him with the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite, the
national award for distinguished public or private service. And in 2006,
Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe presented him with the Principe de Asturias
Medal. That same year, he also received the Medal for Distinguished
Service in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Reza lives in Paris with his wife and two children.
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