Robert Pledge was born in London and moved to Paris when he was 10 years old. A student of West African languages and anthropology, he found his way into journalism as a specialist in African affairs. He became an editor of the French visual arts magazine Zoom and later, director of the New York office of the picture agency Gamma.
In 1976 he founded the international independent picture agency Contact Press Images in New York with American photographer David Burnett. He has curated major photographic exhibitions throughout the world and sat on prestigious international juries such as that of the World Press Photo and the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography.
He has edited highly acclaimed books including Red-Color News Soldier with Chinese photographer Li Zhensheng; and 44 Days: Iran and the Remaking of the World, written with Jacques Menasche, that received the Overseas Press Club of America’s Olivier Rebbot Award respectively in 2004 and 2010. He commutes between Paris and New York, and is a frequent visitor to China.