Narciso Contreras is an award winning documentary photographer born in Mexico City in 1975. Since 2010 he has been covering a variety of issues and topics in Southern Asia and the Middle East, leading him to focus his work on the humanitarian cost of conflicts, economics and wars. His work intends to contribute building our visual memory of the world he testifies. 

His studies in philosophy, photography and visual anthropology led him to live and study in a monastery in India while photographing religious communities. Since then, Narciso has photographed under reported issues like the ethnic war in Myanmar and the forgotten war in Yemen as well as some of the major current events like the political upheavals in Istanbul, the conflict in Gaza, the military coup in Egypt, the war in Syria and the tribal conflict in Libya.

Narciso’s work in Syria was awarded with one of the Pulitzer Prizes in 2013, and got recognition in Pictures of the Year International. He has contributed to magazines and media outlets around the globe like TIME magazine, The Guardian, The New York Times, Paris Match, RT TV, MSNBC News, AP Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Policy, Der Spiegel, Newsweek, Al Jazeera, The Daily Beast, National Geographic, The Sunday Times magazine, The Telegraph, The Washington Post, CNN, Wall Street Journal, L’Espresso, Expressen, Knack, dS Standaard, Wirtschafts Woche, among others. He also has contributed for non-governmental organizations like MSF (Doctors Without Borders).

He is currently photographing the migrant’s crisis in North Africa as part of a long-term project of documentation based on the worldwide conceived phenomenon of a “massive human displacement”.


Saatchi Gallery
16 May - 16 June , 2017
Extention until 9 July 2017
Duke of York's HQ, King's Rd - London SW3
Open daily 10am - 6pm
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Palazzo Reale
Piazza del Duomo, 12 - 20122 Milan
22 April - 13 May 2017
Monday from 2.30PM to 7.30PM
Tuesday to Sunday from 9.30AM to 7.30PM
Thursday and Saturday from 9.30PM to 10.30PM

Hôtel de l’Industrie
4 place Saint-Germain-des-Près -75006 Paris
25 October - 13 November 2016
Monday to Sunday from 11am to 7pm (include Tuesday 1st November)
Special opening until 10PM on Friday 28 October, 4, 11 November 2016
Free admission



  • Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery (London), 
  • Patrick Baz, Photojournalist and Founder of the Photo Desk for the Middle East and North Africa at Agence France Presse
  • Reza, Photojournalist
  • Janine di Giovanni, Editor-in-chief for the Middle East, Newsweek
  • Thierry Grillet, Chief Curator of Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF)
  • Mikko Takkunen, Photo Editor at the New York Times 
  • Christophe Gin, Laureate of the 6th Carmignac photojournalism Award




Zawiyah, May 2016 © Narciso Contreras for the Fondation Carmignac | Image selected in TIME’s Top 100 Photos of the Year 2016



In the heart of post-Gaddafi Libya, Contreras lays bare an unfolding humanitarian crisis in which illegal migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are at the mercy of militias who exploit them for financial gain. Held in detention centres for illegal migrants, they are subjected to inhumane conditions including overcrowding, lack of sanitation and vicious beatings..

Contreras tells how he grappled with complex and at times surreal bureaucracy and logistics, picking his way through areas torn apart by sectarian violence in order to visit detention centre after detention centre.  Frustrated by the government´s unwillingness to grant him access, Contreras was forced to circumnavigate the official channels and cultivate his own contact with people smugglers and tribespeople, which enabled him to understand the reality of trafficking in Libya.

Throughout this report, Contreras weaves a compelling narrative to show how, instead of being a place of transit for migrants on their way to Europe, Libya has actually become a trafficking market where people are bought and sold on a daily basis.

With this report, Narciso Contreras provides us with a glimpse of the complex and horrifying context anonymous migrants face.

Garabuli, May 2016
Tajoura, May 2016
Zawiyah, May 2016
Surman, June 2016