What Gilles Peress Saw on 9/11

The Magnum photographer looks back on capturing an “inconceivable event.”

A cop tried to stop me. He said, ‘You’re crazy, you’re going to die,’ and I said, ‘O.K.,’ and I bypassed him. I arrived as the second tower was falling. There were very few people there.” The only people he recalled seeing at first “were a group of about six firemen, who were trying to do the impossible.”

Brooklyn : This place, Gilles Peress – The Eye of Photography

I believe in going to the limit, and I also believe in what happens beyond the limit in the no-man’s land between various forms of description. This no-man’s land for me, with no labels and codes attached to it, is a free space in the gap between photography and film, literature, painting, art and journalism. Do I trust it? I think it is in the making.

12 Photographers Turn Their Lens on Israel in 'This Place' - Feature Shoot

For a land so deeply entrenched with history and conflict, Israel is not an easy subject to approach in a photography project, especially from a single standpoint. Born out of an idea by Frédéric Brenner, a French photographer who has long explored Jewish

‘This Place’ is the title given to the internationally touring exhibition that presents the work of twelve artists who were commissioned to research and work in Israel and the West Bank, created primarily between 2009 and 2012 by Frédéric Brenner, Wendy Ewald, Martin Kollar, Josef Koudelka, Jungjin Lee, Gilles Peress, Fazal Sheikh, Stephen Shore, Rosalind Fox Solomon, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall and Nick Waplington. Together, they act as a heterogeneous narrative of a conflicted, paradoxical and deeply resonant place.

Envisioning Human Rights Part I Gilles Peress, Thomas Morley, Jean-Marie Simon – The Eye of Photography

Gilles Peress raises the dilemma of human rights photography: “I keep asking myself the fundamental question: Can human rights photography, like 18th century novels, be a vehicle for empathy? Can photographs motivate viewers to engage with human rights issues and bring about real change? As we know, badly used photography can be a vehicle for propaganda or emotional exploitation of the worst kind, and can ultimately desensitize viewers. Alternatively, if we accept the postmodernist argument mentioned above, we run the risk of photographs not being taken and entering a black hole of not seeing and a complete absence of consciousness. Which do you choose?”

Gilles Peress Releases Free Photo Book Documenting the Devastation in Far Rockaway After Hurricane Sandy

In a uniting effort of remembrance and service, a group of talented individuals have come together to memorialize the tragic effects of Hurricane Sandy, the devastating storm that hit the U.S. east coast on October 29th, 2012. The Rockaways is a collabora

The Rockaways is a collaborative effort shot by Magnum Photos’ Gilles Peress and edited by The Washington Spectator’s Hamilton Fish. Each photograph captures the unfathomable ruin and turmoil directly after the storm. The images are paired with the painfully honest stories from the residents of Far Rockaway, weaving a tale of a community struggling to remain whole when so much was lost

Gilles Peress

These images depict the full stop of the Welfare State cuts, Housing Benefit cuts, Health cuts, loopholes and failures of systems and what happens when the heart of a community is slowly eroded. These images also depict the lives of those hanging on, bowed yet not broken, of lives where a fight to survive is very real. Fighting apathy, addiction, fighting loneliness, illness all the while clinging to self respect, adrift in the community, in life, but not yet lost

Review: The Graves by Eric Stover and Gilles Peress

I think it’s fair to say that the time for the this-is-that game is up in photojournalism now (while the business model is imploding itself), so there are all kinds of attempts to re-play that game, by trying to make it look cool (using Instagram, for example). That’s not going to work.

Gilles Peress, Twenty Years After the Siege of Sarajevo

Twenty years ago today, Suada Dilberovic and Olga Sucic were killed by Serb snipers while at a peace rally in Sarajevo. Their deaths are considered by many…

Gilles Peress, who has worked with The New Yorker on many occasions, photographed in Bosnia from March to September of 1993. “I knew from the beginning that I could not explain all that was happening in Bosnia—the historical intricacies, the weight of blood,” Peress writes in his book “Farewell To Bosnia.” “I set out only to provide a visual continuum of experience, of existence.” Here’s a selection of his photographs from Bosnia.

Student Chat with Gilles Peress (1998)

AMERICANSUBURB X: INTERVIEW: Student Chat with Gilles Peress (1998)”:

On March 18, 1998, Gilles Peress participated in a chat with students of Gretchen Garlinghouse’s advanced photography class at College Preparatory School in Oakland. Preston Tucker, Technology Integrator at College Prep, was College Prep’s liaison with the Connecting Students to the World project. Students prepared for the chat by studying Farewell to Bosnia by Gilles Peress (Scalo Publishers, N.Y., 1994). They also studied an online curriculum comprising Peress’s interview in the Conversations with History series and two web sites by Peress, one produced by New York University and the other by The New York Times.

Access to Life


In Access to Life, eight Magnum photographers portray people in nine countries around the world before and four months after they began antiretroviral treatment for AIDS. Paolo Pellegrin in Mali, Alex Majoli in Russia, Larry Towell in Swaziland and South Africa, Jim Goldberg in India, Gilles Peress in Rwanda, Jonas Bendiksen in Haiti, Steve McCurry in Vietnam and Eli Reed in Peru

Check it out here.

Gilles Peress

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Quote:”I don’t care so much anymore about ‘good photography’; I am gathering evidence for history”.

Gilles Peress joined Magnum Photos in 1970 and is a Magnum Contributor.

Check it out here.