Robert Pledge was born in 1942 in London, UK and moved to Paris, France at the age of ten. A student of West African languages and anthropology, he found his way into journalism as a specialist in African affairs. In 1970 he became an editor at the French bi-monthly visual arts Zoom, le magazine de l’image and in 1973 the director of the New York office of the picture agency Gamma. In 1976 he founded Contact Press Images in New York with American photographer David Burnett. He has curated major exhibitions worldwide and served on prestigious international juries including that of the World Press Photo Foundation, three times. A visiting professor at several Chinese universities, he is also a member and former president of the Board of Trustees of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund. In 2004 and 2010 he received the Overseas Press Club of America's "Olivier Rebbot Award” for Best Reporting in Books, respectively for Red-Color News Soldier, A Chinese Photographer’s Odyssey Through The Cultural Revolution (Phaidon) co-authored with Li Zhensheng, and 44 Days—Iran and the Remaking of the World (Focal Point), co-authored with Burnett and writer Jacques Menasche. He commutes between Paris and New York.