Alexandra Boulat in Coma

The world of photography was shocked to learn at the weekend that Alexandra Boulat, one of the founders of VII and a fine photojournalist, had suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm while working in Israel and is critically ill in the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. According to the VII site, Alex had surgery on Thursday morning to stop the bleeding in her brain; the operation was successful and she is currently in a medically induced coma, which gives her the best conditions for recovery. I’m sure everyone wishes her well, and contributions to her medical expenses are welcomed – details are on the VII site.

Alex was born in 1962 in Paris, and her parents were both connected to photography. Pierre Boulat (1924-98) was a Life staff photographer in the 1950s and 60s and Annie Boulat founded and still owns the Paris-based Cosmos agency (its photographers include Bruno Stevens.)

Pierre began working for Samedi Soir in Paris in 1945, and photographed both in Paris and overseas for the magazine. His pictures appeared in Life from 1953 to 1976, and he photographed many leading celebrities, including Aristotle Onassis, Federico Fellini and Duke Ellington. From 1973 on he became a freelance again.

Not suprisingly Alex started taking pictures when she was 12 and became a photographer in 1989 after training in graphic art and art history. She became well-known for her work covering the wars in the former Yugoslavia, and in particular for her fine work on Kosovo, which showed the efect of the violence on the every-day lives of the people there, and gained her the Golden Visa Award at the Perpignan Visa pour l’image, in 1998, and both an ICP Infinity Award and an Alfred Eisenstadt Award from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1999. Other awards came from the NPPA, World Press Photo, Overseas Press Club etc.

Alex worked for the SIPA agency founded by Göksin Sipahioglu in Paris for 10 years until 2000. In September 2001, together with Ron Haviv, Gary Knight, Antonin Kratochvil, Christopher Morris, James Nachtwey and John Stanmeyer she founded Agence VII. Her work appeared in leading magazines around the world, particularly in the National Geographic Magazine, Time and Paris Match.

You can see her photography on the VII site, and also at War Photo Ltd and the Hasted Hunt Gallery. Photojournalism is a tough trade, and demands a great deal from people. As someone who has found her images both moving and informing I’d certainly want to add my wishes for her rapid and complete recovery.

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