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Patricio Estay is a French Chilean, filmmaker, producer and photographer. After completing a degree in ethnomusicology, he embarked on a career in photojournalism. At 20 years old he moved to Brazil where his career as a visual artist was enriched by his vibrant environment.

Workshops with great Masters of Music such as Ravi Shankar, Mikis Theodorakis and Alvin Jones left an indelible impression on his young life as visual artist. The photographic image has always been Estay’s natural medium as a storyteller.

The insight of his reportage, the power of his chosen subject matters and his alert and astute eye are hallmarks of the personal and profound vision that fuels his career.

The photographic image has always been Estay’s natural medium as a storyteller. The insight of his reportage, the power of his
chosen subject matters and his alert and astute eye are hallmarks of the personal and profound vision that fuels his career.

He moved to France in 1981, where he also began to work as a filmmaker. In 1982 he held his first exhibition in France, “L’Amerique Latine à Paris” at the Grand Palais in Paris.

In 1985, supported by a Grant from the French Ministry of Culture, he wrote the screenplay of the documentary “Les Corralejas”, working with Film D’ici and INA (Institut National de l’Audiovisuel.

In 1989, with his close friend, Cuban photographer Alberto Korda, Estay was the inaugural exhibitor at the first International Festival of Photojournalism in Perpignan, France, with their joint show, “Trente Ans de Révolution Cubaine”.

In 1988 Estay began a project that would continue for the next twenty-five years, documenting the equestrian cultures of eleven different countries. In 2001 the fruits of this labour, the book “Peuples Cavaliers” was published by Le Chêne, and in 2012 a second book, “Cavaliers du Monde” by Editions De La Martinière. Part of this work was exhibited at the 1993 Visa International Festival of Photojournalism, and in 2008 in Siena’s Piazza del Campo, home to the famous Palio Horse race.

Inspired by his meeting with Henri Cartier Bresson in 1986, Estay started the project “Tibet: Land of Exile” in 1999. Over a period of eleven years, and with unparalleled access, Estay photographed the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan diaspora in Dharamsala, India, in what he describes as one of the most important projects of his career.

The resulting book was published in 2007 by Skira in Italy and in 2008 by Thames & Hudson in United States, with a foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman. The exhibition of these photographs has been shown in Florence, Milan, Rome and Massa e Carrara in Italy.

Estay founded a photo agency, Nazca Pictures Communication, in 2003 and began to divide his time between Paris and Florence. In 2008 he founded NazcaVision, an HD film production company created to explore new creative paths in documentary filmmaking.

In 2010 he started to work on the ambitious multimedia project “SOS Earth and Blue Planet”, to highlight environmental issues around the globe. Inspired by this project in 2013 he wrote the documentary series “Green Mission” to witness the lives of last peoples in danger of extinction.

Currently with all his experience of photographer, Estay with an avant-garde look devoted to the realization of the photographs on the universe of the fashion and the portraits of the celebrities like Dalai Lama, Aishwarya Rai, Natalia Vodianova, Matteo Renzi, Henri Cartier-Bresson etc…

“Today more than ever, Estay believes in the extraordinary expressions of freedom, passion and life that the power of instinct and creativity can bring”.


Henri Cartier Bresson during the students' demonstration against the Devaquet Law. Paris, 4th December 1986.

“To photograph: it is to put on the same line of sight the head, the eye and the heart.”

Copyright by © Patricio ESTAY