It is difficult to describe Xavier Zimbardo in a few words. Is he a photographer, a writer, or a poet? He is probably a bit of all three.
This suburbanite from the Sarcelles district just outside Paris was born in 1955 – which makes him a contemporary of the first large council housing estates that have given the region its notoriety and which have been the focus of so much urban unrest. In 2006, he created PHOTSOC, the International Festival of Social Photography, which brings established photographers to so-called disadvantaged neighbourhoods with a view to fostering young talent locally.
For more than thirty years, he has travelled the world meeting the people he photographs, invariably with a reporter’s eye, tinged with liberal doses of mystery and poetry. In a career spanning some fifteen books, he has published landmark works on Sri Lanka, Mexico, Morocco and Cuba as well as titles devoted to the monks of Mount Athos in Greece, the Catholic pilgrimages in Brittany known as the Breton Pardons, and poignant memorials to ‘lost beauties’ now sadly inhabiting the cemeteries..
It is impossible within the confines of this brief introduction to do justice to the rich and varied career of this self-taught photographer, whose images have been acquired by major museums and who has been extensively published throughout the world. For those wishing to discover the full extent of his talent, we warmly recommend a visit to his website.