by Abbas

  • France
  • en
  • en
  • 53'
Abbas by Abbas


Abbas left us in 2018 at the age of 74. This hallowed figure of photojournalism, a member of the Magnum agency, was a witness to our times. For almost sixty years, the Franco-Iranian photographer travelled the world to immortalize the great events that have marked its history. This intimate documentary by Kamy Pakdel has the feel of an autobiography. Abbas tells his own story, tracing his immense career through 10 themes symbolic of his work: violence, fanaticism, humiliation, pain, chaos, derision, spirituality, beauty, sadness and intimacy. A touching portrait of a man who had never before accepted to be filmed. Abbas died a week after filming was completed. He here delivers his testament.

What you will find in this film

A Magnum photojournalist • the great events of history through the lens • the photographer of all wars and revolutions • Man's relationship with religion • more intimate images • capturing the suspended moment • black and white shots • how to draw with light • the photographer's emotional filter • ordering chaos

In photography, I look for what I call the suspended moment: I don't freeze a situation, I suspend it. I want to give the impression that the people I've photographed have continued to do what they were doing before I photographed them.
When you're working, you don't think. I don't have time for emotions. I have to put an emotional veil between what I see and myself. This doesn't mean that I don't feel, but rather that I don't react immediately to what I see, I let it pass into my subconscious. Then it comes back in nightmares, like time bombs.
Sometimes you have to know how to lose a photo.

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Further exploration



• IN WHOSE NAME ? ; Abbas ; Thames & Hudson ; 2009 
• GODS I’VE SEEN ; Abbas ; Phaidon ; 2016