Paolo Woods was born of Canadian and Dutch parentage. He grew up in Italy, lived in Paris and is now based in Haiti.
Paolo Woods ran a laboratory and a photo gallery in Florence, Italy, before dedicating himself to documentary photography. He is devoted to 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 among which Angola, Russia, Kazakhstan, Texas and Iraq. In 2004 he published the book American Chaos, a detailed reportage on western debacle in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both books have been published in France and Italy, and as magazine pieces in over ten different countries. In 2007/2008 he has documented the spectacular rise of the Chinese in Africa. The book Chinafrica, again cosigned with Serge Michel, has been published in France and translated in eleven languages including English, Spanish and Chinese. The work has been acclaimed as the most thorough investigation in the phenomena, and as an exemplary encounter between fine art and documentary photography. The book has enjoyed significant commercial success, selling over 40.000 copies in France only.
In 2010 he completed the project Walk on my Eyes, an intimate portrait of the Iranian society. The resulting book has been published in France and has been translated in German, Spanish and Persian. The show has premiered at the Festival of Arles in France and is currently touring worldwide.
His work is regularly featured in the main international publications. He has had solo exhibitions in, amongst others, France, US, Italy, China, Spain, Germany and Holland and 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 numerous prizes including a World Press Photo for his work in Iraq, the “Alstom prize for Journalism”, the GRIN prize in Italy and the Open Society’s Moving Walls.