Magnum Photographer Jérôme Sessini builds a passion for photography, discovering documentary photography through books shown by a friend, a photographer. He initiates his own practice, shooting people, landscapes and the daily lives of those around his native Eastern France (with Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, Mark Cohen, in mind).
In 1998, although nothing predicted he would turn to journalism, Sessini arrives in Paris. Gamma photo agency gives him the opportunity to cover the ongoing conflict in Kosovo.
Sessini has since then covered most of the international current events: Palestine, Iraq (from 2003 to 2008), Aristide’s fall in Haiti (2004), the conquest of Mogadishu by the Islamic militias and the war in Lebanon (2006).
Sessini’s work is immediately internationally acknowledged. It is published by prestigious newspapers and magazines, including Newsweek, Stern, Paris-Match as well as Le Monde and the Wall Street Journal.
His photography also leads to single exhibitions at the Visa Photo Festival in Perpignan, at the Rencontres d’Arles, the Bibliothèque Nationale François-Mitterrand, as well as with the French Ministry of Culture.
In 2008, Jerome Sessini started the Mexican project, So far from God, too close from the US, a dive into the drug cartels’ war in Mexico. This still-ongoing project has already been awarded twice with the F-Award and a Getty Grant.
From this direct confrontation with violence, Sessini has recognized a state of things which is at the heart of his work, “Ordinary fellows are always those losing, either it being in Iraq, Mexico or France”.
Evolving within an uncertain balance of cynical realism and upset, Sessini is very careful with the “rightness” of his photographic work. He rejects idealism and otherworldliness, which do not take into account some pieces of reality.