Marc Riboud was born in 1923 in Lyon. At the Great Exhibition of Paris in 1937, he took his first pictures with the small Vest-Pocket camera his father gave him. During the war, he took part in the Vercors fights. From 1945 to 1948, he studied engineering and worked in a factory. After a week of holiday, during which he covered the cultural festival of Lyon, he drops his engineering job for photography.
In 1953, he published his famous Eiffel Tower’s painter photograph in Life Magazine and joined the Magnum Agency after meeting Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa. Robert Capa later sent him to London to learn English. While he doesn’t learn much English, he photographs intensely.
In 1955, he travelled throughout the Middle East and Afghanistan to reach India, where he remained for one year. He then travelled toward China for a first stay in 1957. After three months in the USSR in 1960, he followed the independence movement in Algeria and Western Africa.
Between 1968 and 1969 he was one of the few photographers allowed to travel in South and North Vietnam. In 1976, he becomes president of Magnum and resigns three years later, to travel at his own pace in the 1980s.
In 2004, his retrospective is exhibited at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris and visited by over 100,000 people. Numerous museums throughout Europe, as well as United States, China, and Japan, regularly show his work. He received many awards, among which where two Overseas Press Club, the Time-Life Achievement, the Lucie Award, and the ICP Infinity Award.