JR (born 22 February 1983) is the pseudonym of a French photographer and artist whose identity is still unconfirmed. JR exhibits freely in the streets of the world, catching the attention of people who are not typical museum visitors. Describing himself as a photograffeur, he installs large black-and-white photographic images in public locations.
His career starts in 2001, after finding a camera in the Paris metro. Feeling inspired and pushed by a passion for photography, he started to immortalize the street art and the artists behind it, travelling throughout Europe to meet those who express themselves on walls and facades, and pasted their portraits in the streets, undergrounds and rooftops of Paris.
JR considers himself halfway between a street artist and a photographer. His work combines art and action, and deals with commitment, freedom, identity and limits. For example, In 2007, he created Face 2 Face, the biggest illegal exhibition ever. JR posted huge portraits of Israelis and Palestinians face to face in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities. This exhibition says a lot about his work. The images that he uses for his graffiti projects are paper copies from photographs that he actually previously took. Another feature of his work is that he is also particularly interested in the vertical limits, such us the walls and the façades that structure cities.
In 2010, during a radio program in San Diego, California, artist Shepard Fairey stated: "JR is the most ambitious street artist working". He has even been called the Cartier-Bresson of the 21st century. JR creates pervasive art that spreads uninvited on the buildings of the slums in France, the walls in the Middle East, the broken bridges in African, and the favelas in Brazil.
JR has traveled to distant and dangerous places many times. Not only does he infiltrate communities, but he also befriends inhabitants by recruiting them as models or collaborators. His work has touched thousands of city inhabitants and often displaying culture, history, and memory for a particular location. Today his work can be found worldwide.