July 26, 1952
He has worked internationally for National Geographic Magazine. Several films about Reza's work have been produced by National Geographic Television, most notably Frontline Diaries which won an Emmy Award in 2002. In 2003, Reza served as Creative Director for National Geographic's most viewed documentary, Inside Mecca. As part of its Exceptional Journeys series, National Geographic released a documentary looking at Reza's career as a photojournalist, with special features highlighting his extensive humanitarian work.
Reza's career began with studies in architecture. Following his passion for photography, he became an International award-winning photographer. He takes his first photograph at 14 and publishes two years later a high school magazine he called Parvaz. He clandestinely displays his photographs on the grids of the University of Tehran. For his artistic activism, he was arrested at the age of 22, jailed for three years and tortured for five months. In 1979, he left architecture to become a photojournalist and covered the Iranian Revolution  for the Sipa Press agency and Newsweek magazine. He was finally forced into exile in 1981 for his photographs published in the international press. Then he decided to move to Paris, France. For nearly four decades, Reza has covered a large part of the globe for international media (Time Magazine, Stern, Newsweek, El País, Paris Match and Geo...), notably for National Geographic  His assignments have taken him to over a hundred countries. His photographs are testimony to the chaos of War, its ravages and the helplessness of human beings caught in the storm. They also tell the world's cultures, traditions, history and, most of all, Reza's infallible hope for a better world. Year, 1991 marks the beginning of a long and close collaboration with National Geographic magazine for which he carries out many subjects. His photographs were the subject of 25 covers of the magazine. The following year, Reza co-founded in Paris, with his wife Rachel Deghati, a writer, a studio around the image and words, the agency Webistan Photo Agency. Reza is quickly convinced that there are as many ways to tell a story as media, press publications, web-documentaries, exhibitions, installations in the public space, documentaries made by him or on his work, books and conferences are all complementary means of talking about a subject he is witnessing. Since its creation, its agency has helped to implement its different projects.
Since 1983 Reza has been a volunteer committed to the training in the language of image, of population from conflict-ridden societies to help them strive for a better world. In 1990, he interrupted his career as a photojournalist, and became a consultant to the United Nations in Afghanistan  for nine months in a program of reconstruction and assistance to the population in the Northern provinces of the country. He takes his cameras to start working for National Geographic Magazine, but pursues actions undertaken on a voluntary basis. In 1996 in Rwanda, he worked alongside UNICEF and the ICRC to continue a photo tracing operation, initiated by these two organizations allowing parents to find their children lost during the mass exodus from Rwanda to refugee camps. From the Democratic Republic of Congo 12,000 children's portraits are posted in IDP camps. In 1998, Reza got involved in a school construction for refugee children in Baku, Azerbaijan. In 1991, Reza served as a consultant to the United Nations in Afghanistan, helping to distribute food to populations in war-torn parts of the country. In 2001, he founded Aina (Persian for The Mirror), an international new generation non-profit organization which opened a first center in Kabul, Afghanistan. Dedicated to educating and empowering dedicated to educating and empowering Afghan women and children through the media. By providing educational opportunities in the field of communications and multimedia. Aina aims to equip Afghans with the skills required to build a self-sufficient, democratic, and unified country. For his work on such humanitarian causes and because of his work with Aina in Afghanistan, National Geographic awarded him the title of National Geographic Fellow in 2006. In 2009, after training 1,000 Afghans, including the 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner Massoud Hossaini the association became completely independent and Afghan led.
Reza has continued to conduct workshops to youths around the world (Italian and French suburbs, refugee camps in Iraqi Kurdistan, favelas in Buenos Aires, center for displaced youth in Bamako etc.). By founding the non-profit organization Reza Visual Academy, which seeks to form young people between 11 and 20 years in the language of the image through the photographic tool. Passive victims, they become visual witnesses and therefore actors in their destiny. His humanitarian work and photojournalism have been recognized by international institutions and universities, including George Washington University, Stanford University, Beijing University and the Sorbonne in Paris.
He spends much of his time as lecturer, trainer, and visiting professor, giving presentations and running workshops on global issues. His humanitarian work and photojournalism have been recognised by international institutions and universities, including George Washington University, Stanford University, Beijing University and the Sorbonne in Paris. He also participated in documentary projects for the French photography website 24h.com. Reza's photographs have been exhibited throughout the world. War+Peace (2009), an exhibit featuring thirty years worth of Reza's photojournalistic adventures, was held at the Caen Memorial (Peace Museum) in Normandy, France. One World, One Tribe (2006), was the National Geographic Museum's first outdoor exhibition in Washington D.C., and Reza's landmark exhibition in Paris, drew a million visitors.
Over the last three decades, Reza's photographs have been on the covers of National Geographic Magazine, with more featured in international publications. He is also the author of seventeen books, including War+Peace, the first in a series entitled Masters of Photography by National Geographic, and most recently, Sindhbad, Reza's adaptation of the seven journeys of this mystical character from the classic tale, A Thousand and One Nights. A Childhood Promise is the story of discovery, narrated by three people, about a promise made by Reza to his son, Delazad. In 1996, Reza won the Hope Prize for his contribution to a joint project with UNICEF in Rwanda entitled Lost Children's Portraits. In 2005, he was awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite, France's highest civilian honour, for his philanthropic work in the areas of children's education and the empowerment of women in the media. In 2006, Spain's Crown Prince Felipe presented him with the Prince of Asturias Humanitarian Medal on behalf of National Geographic. The same year, Reza received the Honor Medal from the University of Missouri - Columbia School of Journalism "in recognition of his lifelong contributions, through photojournalism, to justice and dignity for the world's citizens." He also received an award recognizing his humanitarian work from the University of Chicago. In 2008, Reza became a senior fellow of the Ashoka Foundation, and in May 2009, received the Honorary Degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from the American University of Paris (AUP) for his achievements in journalism and humanitarianism. In October 2009, he received the Lucie Award for Achievement in Documentary from the New York-based Lucie Foundation and in May 2010, in New York, the Infinity Award of ICP (International Center of Photography) honoured Reza for his latest report on Afghanistan; "Once upon a time, the Russian Empire", in Photojournalism category.
Reza's photographs  have been exhibited in major cities throughout the world. From monumental installations in the public space to more modest local exhibitions, Reza strives to make photography accessible to all. In 1998, he installed for the first time in public space, at the Carrousel du Louvre, an exhibition Mémoires d'exil. This is the beginning of a long series of original installations outside museums, giving everyone the opportunity to meet visual art and information. Thus, to cite only these, Destins Croisés, on the grids of the Jardin du Luxembourg  in Paris in 2003, One World, One Tribe, first exhibition of the National Geographic Museum in Washington DC in 2006, War + Peace, exposed in 2009 at the Caen Memorial in Normandy and in 2011 on the banks of the Garonne in Toulouse. There are nearly 450 photographic exhibitions in France and abroad, including major installations on the Corniche in Doha (Qatar), in the major cities of Corsica, at Kew Gardens in London, at the UN headquarters in New York, Parliament in Brussels, as well as UNESCO, the Petit Palais museum and the banks of the Seine in Paris. In 2013, Reza has designed, the first 370-meter giant mural along the banks of the Seine facing the Musée d'Orsay, dedicated to Coffee Workers  around the world. In 2015, he reiterated the same major installation entitled Dream of Humanity. It presents his photographic work on refugees around the world as well as the photographs taken by young Syrian refugees in a camp in Iraqi Kurdistan who have followed since the end of 2013 the photography training of her association Reza Workshops. In 2018, he exhibits his work Face to Face in China.
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