Sex, drugs, and wars have been the rhythm of my life
After studying mathematics and becoming a film director, Yan Morvan began reporting on the Hells Angels in Paris, then on the prostitutes of Bangkok. In 1974, he published his first photograph in the daily newspaper Libération.
From 1974 to 1975, he worked for the Fotolib agency of Libération, then for the Norma agency in 1976. In 1976, he published his first book on rockers, Le Cuir et le Baston, the beginning of a long work on gangs that would last twenty years, and began collaborating as a freelancer with Paris Match until 1978, then with Figaro Magazine until 1980. From 1980 to 1988, he was a member of the staff of Sipa Press and a permanent correspondent for the American weekly Newsweek1,2 , for which he covered the main conflicts: Iran-Iraq, Lebanon, Northern Ireland, the Philippines, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Rwanda and Kosovo.
Being a freelance photographer since 1988, he is recognised as one of the contemporary specialists in war photography and regularly collaborates with most of the major international publications3. In 1996, he co-founded with two other photographers, Jean-François Bauret and Didier de Faÿs, the first French photography magazine on the Internet, Photographie.com. From 2004 onwards, he began reporting from the United States and taking on in-depth subjects: the suburbs, victims of war and sexual perversions. In 2009, he began working on a project, Champs de batailles. In 2016, the Rencontres d’Arles devoted an exhibition to him and the Gens d’images a workshop.
Putting his reputation and experience at the service of young photographers, he is successively a trainer at the École nationale supérieure de la photographie d’Arles, at the CFD (in charge of the photo course with Patrick Frilet from 1991), and at the CFPJ (Centre de formation professionnelle des journalistes).
Prizes and awards
His war reports earned him a mention for the Robert Capa prize for his work in Lebanon in 1983, two World Press Photo prizes in 1984 and numerous awards from American journalism schools.
Yan Morvan has exhibited extensively and was selected in 1986 by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis for a retrospective on photojournalism. In 2000, his series of portraits of young road victims, commissioned by the FNAC (Fonds national d’art contemporain), was exhibited at the international photojournalism festival Visa pour l’image.