Bénédicte Kurzen (France, 1980) is a photographer working on cross cultural narratives and mythologies, opening the door to possible redefinitions of social concepts. Her photography combines documentary elements with a metaphoric, constructed language, and collaborative processes.
She began her career in 2003 in the Middle East, covering hard news in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq. Her work with the "Violence Against Women" project focused on widows in Gaza. In Johannesburg, she co-founded the Eve Photographers collective, which focuses on women's issues. She has produced substantial work on social changes and tensions in South Africa (2005-2011) then Nigeria (2011-2023), with her ongoing "Lake Chad Chronicles" project. Since 2018, she deepens her work on mythologies in Nigeria and China and examined the persistence of ancient beliefs in Mayotte, in her last body of work "Madjinis".
Among few distinctions, she was part of the prestigious World Press Joop Swart Masterclass (2008), a Pulitzer Center and European Journalism Center grantee (2012, 2017), nominated for the Visa d’Or for her work about ethnico-religious violences in Nigeria (“A Nation Lost to Gods, 2012). More recently, she won with photographer and NOOR colleague, Sanne De Wilde, the first Prize in the portrait category of the World Press Photo (2019) along with other prizes such as the CAP Prize and Liangzhou Award. In 2023, she receives with Muntaka Chasant and Anas Aremeyaw Anas the Carmignac photojournalism Award, for their collaborative project on e-waste. Her work has been published internationally, and she is a member of the National Geographic Photo Society and a contributing photographer to the magazine.
For the past fifteen years Benedicte Kurzen has worked with a broad range of outlets. Recently she was assigned by National Geographic to produce a story in Nigeria. Previously, she has been published internationally as a regular contributor to the New York Times and TIME Magazine between 2006 and 2011. Her work was also published in the New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Foreign Policy, Vogue US, Stern, Spiegel, Le Monde Magazine, Paris Match, Courrier International, Foto8, British Journal of Photography, Internazionale, Newsweek, Washington Post to name a few.
︎︎︎ BOOKS / COLLECTIVE PUBLICATIONS
LAND OF IBEJI LAND OF TWINS, Hannibal Books, 2021.
NACH UNS DIE SINTFLUT, Kunst Haus Wien Fotohof , 2020. (Collectif)
NORTHERN GHANA LIFE, Aurora Borealis Foundation, under the Auspices of the Noorderlicht / House of Photography, 2018. (Collectif)
FAST FOOD LAGOS, Alimentary Particles, Collateral Creations, 2015.
PROJECT SEA CHANGE, E.U., 2015. (Collectif)
THIS DAY OF CHANGE, Kondasha Ltd, 2009. (Collectif)
2019 NATIONAL COMISSION FOR MUSEUMS AND MONUMENTS, Lagos (Nigeria) Responsable for the photographic collection and its preservation. Memorandum of Understanding signed by both parties in 2019.