Born in Israel in 1970 Ziv Koren started his photographic career as a young military photographer in the Israeli army. He went on to become an official government press office photographer, attached to the Prime Minister’s office, and then spent six years as photographer and photo editor of the daily newspaper Yedioth Achronoth.
Koren has been a freelance photographer since 1992 and is currently affiliated to Polaris Images, having previously worked for the Sygma and Gamma agencies between 1995 and 2002. Perhaps best known for his award-winning 2003 project “Louai Mer’i, a sergeant, is going home,” documenting an injured soldier, he recently unveiled an acclaimed Writing with Light exhibition at the Tel-Aviv Exhibition Grounds, which is now touring the far east. Koren regularly lectures on photography and exhibits his work around the world at a number of colleges and other institutions, including the Ramat Gan Museum and the Camera Obscura School of Arts, Tel Aviv. He also taught at the World Press Photo masters workshop in Turkey in 2003.
In 2000 one of Ziv’s images was chosen by World Press Photo as one of the 200 Best Pictures from the Previous 45 Years. He has won numerous awards including World Press Photo, Photo District News Award (4 times), Yann Geffroy Award, International Color Award (twice) and Picture of the Year. In February 2006 the movie More than 1000 Words, which documented Ziv’s work photographing the Israel-Palestine conflict in a two-year period up to Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, was released. Shot by filmmaker Solo Avital it has since picked up a host of awards at various film festivals around the world, winning several festival awards.
In 2008 Koren became a Canon Ambassador. He was the subject of the documentary film More Than 1000 Words which was widely screened at film festivals around the world, garnering a dozen awards. He has published 15 books and regularly lectures at workshops and universities worldwide.
Koren’s main interest is humanitarian issues which are often the subject of his documentary projects, such as the Israeli-Arab conflict, poverty, Tsunamis, the Haiti earthquake, earthquake in Nepal, Guantanamo Prison, and AIDS in South Africa, to name a few. His photographs from various projects and assignments have been published in numerous international publications including Time Magazine, Newsweek, The Sunday Times Magazine, Stern, Der Spiegel, Paris Match, Le Figaro Corriere Della Sera Magazine, and Wired Magazine. Koren’s award-winning photographs have been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions worldwide including at the Metropolitan Museum of Tokyo, the Memorial Museum in Spain, the War Museum in Croatia, The Israel Museum, and the National Museum of Arts in Rome, among others.
Ziv is inspired by books to help with his photographic career and motivations. “Because I’m a self-taught photographer, who has never studied the subject officially, I have a huge library of photographic books that is a huge inspiration to me. I will look at pictures by Robert Capa, James Nachtwey, Eugene Smith, Sebastiao Salgado and many more,” he revealed during an interview with Canon.
“Photography for me is a language that I picked up in order to communicate. It’s not just a job; it’s an obligation and a responsibility to document and to tell the truth. The philosopher Susan Sontag once said that the power of photography is in the fact that the eye is connected to the brain and straight to the nerve system, and by viewing a powerful image, you go through an emotional experience. This is where I’m trying to aim when I go out to shoot. I’d like people to feel something when they look at my pictures.”
ArtéQuesta is now exclusively representing Ziv Koren in the USA. Of the partnership, Koren stated, “I’m very excited and looking forward to a fruitful collaboration. Through my photography, I’d rather be honest than impressive.”