Marc Riboud (born 24 June 1923 in Lyon, France) is a French photographer, best known for his extensive reports on the East: The Three Banners of China, Face of North Vietnam,Visions of China, and In China.
Born in Lyon, France, Riboud went to high school there and made his first picture in 1937 using his father’s Vest Pocket Kodak camera. He was active in the French Resistance from 1943 to 1945, then studied engineering at the Ecole Centrale from 1945 to 1948. Until 1951 Riboud worked as an engineer in Lyon factories, but took a week-long picture-taking vacation, inspiring him to become a photographer. He moved to Paris where he met Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, and David Seymour, the founders of Magnum Photos. By 1953 he was a member of the organization. His ability to capture fleeting moments in life through powerful compositions was already apparent, and this skill was to serve him well for decades to come.
Over the next several decades Riboud traveled around the world. In 1957 he was one of the first European photographers to go to China, and In 1968, 1972 and 1976, Riboud made several reportages on North Vietnam and later traveled all over the world, but mostly in Asia, Africa, the U.S. and Japan. Riboud has been witness to the atrocities of war (photographing from both the Vietnam and the American sides of the Vietnam War), and the apparent degradation of a culture repressed from within (China during the years of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution). In contrast, he has captured the graces of daily life, set in sun-drenched facets of the globe (Fès, Angkor, Acapulco, Niger, Bénarès, Shaanxi), and the lyricism of child’s play in everyday Paris. In 1979 Riboud left the Magnum agency.
Riboud’s photographs have appeared in numerous magazines, including Life, Géo, National Geographic, Paris Match, and Stern. He twice won the Overseas Press Club Award, and has had major retrospective exhibitions at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the International Center of Photography in New York.
He now lives in France.