Paolo Woods was born of Canadian and Dutch parentage. He grew up in Italy, lived in Paris, and is now based in Haiti.
Woods ran a laboratory and a photo gallery in Florence, Italy, before dedicating himself to documentary photography. He focuses on long-term projects that blend photography with investigative journalism. In 2003, with the award-winning writer Serge Michel, he published the book Un monde de Brut (A Crude World). Tackling the subject of the oil industry, this story involved working in twelve countries, including Angola, Russia, Kazakhstan, Texas and Iraq. In 2004, Woods published the book American Chaos, a detailed reportage on western involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both books have been published in France and Italy, and as magazine pieces in over ten different countries. In 2007 and 2008, Woods documented the rise of Chinese influence in Africa. The book Chinafrica, again co-authored with Serge Michel, was published in France and translated into eleven languages. The work has been acclaimed as the most thorough investigation of the phenomenon, and as an exemplary encounter between fine art and documentary photography. In 2010, Woods completed the project Walk on my Eyes, an intimate portrait of the Iranian society. The resulting book was published in France and has been translated into German, Spanish and Persian. The associated exhibition premiered at the Festival of Arles in France, and is currently touring worldwide.
Woods’ work is regularly featured in international publications, and he has had solo exhibitions in, amongst others, France, the US, Italy, China, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as numerous group shows around the world. His pictures are in the French National Library, the FNAC collection, and the collection of the Sheik Saud Al-Thani in Qatar. He has received various prizes including two World Press Photo Awards, the Alstom prize for Journalism, the GRIN prize in Italy, the Open Society’s Moving Walls, and a grant from the Magnum Emergency Fund.
Woods is represented by INSTITUTE.