Friday, October 5, 2007

After 106 days in coma, Alexandra Boulat passed away today

Friends, family and photography buffs are grieving at the loss of Alexandra Boulat, the sensitive and brave conflict photographer who shot the photo below in Afghanistan. (A young female burn patient undergoing treatment at Herat Hospital. Shahima, 25, whose face is covered with a veil to protect her from flying insects, set herself alight to escape domestic violence and complete submission to her new stepfamily.) Alex was not afraid to look at death, and she embraced the complexities of life.

Alexandra was an elegant and vibrant woman, who had an exacting eye for lighting and detail and a passion for the truth. Our deepest condolences go out to Issa Freij, her partner in Ramallah, and Annie and Antoinette Boulat, her mother and sister in Paris. After suffering her brain aneurysm last June, Alex never regained consciousness. She was strong physically and held on for more than three months, first in Israel's Haddasah hospital and then was medi-vaced to Lariboisière in Paris. She died at noon today, age 45.

Gaza became an obsession for this exceptional photojournalist, who co-founded the renowned photo agency VII, and her friends will go through Erez crossing and make a donation in Alex's memory for the women and families whose lives are blighted by that conflict. Alex used to record the border guards' commands and the whirrs and dehumanized inspections every time she crossed this checkpoint and use them for background in podcasts.
Rest in Peace, Alexandra.
(Will post more details about funeral service and obituaries as they become clearer.) It is indeed a sad day.

UPDATE: A memorial service will be held on Friday, 12 October in the chapel at Jacqueville, outside Paris. Alexandra will be laid to rest beside her photographer father, Pierre Boulat.

The family would like to announce that a Foundation to continue Alexandra's and Pierre's legacy will be established in the coming weeks. The Foundation will support the ideals and issues that Alexandra and Pierre were concerned with. If you would like to contribute to this Foundation please contact:

If you prefer to send flowers please send them to:
Cimetière de Jacqueville
77 760 Amponville, France

Click here to see the VII archive portraits of (not by) Alexandra.


Alexandra Boulat was born in Paris, France, in 1962. She trained in graphic art and art history, at the Beaux Arts in Paris. She was represented by Sipa Press for 10 years until 2000. In 2001 she co-founded VII photo agency. Her news and features stories are published in many international magazines, above all Time, Newsweek, National Geographic Magazine and Paris-Match. She has recieved many International Awards for the quality of her work.

Boulat covered news, conflicts and social issues as well as making extensive reportages on countries and people. Among her many varied assignments, she has reported on the wars in former Yugoslavia, the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq, Afghanistan at the fall of the Taliban, and the Women condition in the Islamic world. Other large assignments published in National Geographic include country stories on Indonesia Albania, and Morroco.


Best Women Photographer, Bevento Oscars, Italy 2006
Overseas Press Club 2003 - Afghanistan
World Press Photo / Art 2003 - Yves Saint Laurent Last Show
Infinity Award, International Center of Photography, New York, 1999 - Kosovo
USA Photo Magazine's photographer of the year, 1998
Perpignan, Visa d'Or pour l'Image, 1998 - Kosovo
Prix Paris-Match 1998 - Kosovo
The Harry Chapin Media Awards 1994 - Besieged Sarajevo


PARIS -National Geographic France 2002
ECLATS DE GUERRE (lights of war).
Les Syrtes Image, 2002

Wars in Former Yugoslavia, Visa Pour l'Image, Perpignan 1995
Wars in Former Yugoslavia, Gallerie Debelleyme, Paris 2002

See also obituary in the Times of London, as well as the Independent, the Guardian, and a tribute in Time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check out this:

I read today about the death of Alexandra Boulat. Don't know her? Neither did I. How many international photojournalist do you know? I don't know many, but see the work of many in passing. Do we pay attention to the photographer when we see photos that move us?

I normally don't, but this is another in reminders to make sure I do. Take a look at some of her images. I can only say she and her work make me feel less than honest and less than someone I could be. Why don't we, the public at large, celebrate these photographers? They risk their life to give us images to make us think and act. And do we?

The numbers of photojournalist who have died in war zones in recent decades is staggering, and many more have died in Iraq as all sides have targeted them for their work of capturing and sharing the honesty and reality of war and those effected by it. We owe so much to them we haven't begun to realize it, and likely we never will.

Thank you Alexandra Boulat. I am sorry your life was so short. You could have shown us more of our humanity. Next time you see war photos, thank the photographer who stood there with their camera with the personal vision to be there and share with you.