I grew up in Paris (France). After my studies in international management in Bordeaux and a civilian service in Istanbul, I have long been involved in relief work and public health. 

I took my first steps as a photojournalist in Turkey in 2013 where I had spent several years. From the grass-roots Gezi uprising to the clashes between the army and PKK separatists in the Kurdish provinces, I have followed the plight of Turkish civil society. I would then take the opportunity to enrol in a photojournalism course in Paris in order to complete my professional reconversion. In the following years I was a first-hand witness to the social movements in France that regularly shook the country (Loi Travail, Nuit Debout, Gilets Jaunes, etc.). 

Since then, I have divided my time between working with NGOs or assignments with the press and a series of documentary projects focusing on Belarus and its diaspora. Initiated in 2020, this body of work revolves around a number of themes, all of which offer ways of exploring the lives of Belarusians in the diaspora with a particular focus on the communities in Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine and Georgia.


I live between Paris and Vilnius, home to a large Belarusian population.


jan schmidt-whitley | documentary | photojournalism

Jan Schmidt-Whitley is a French photojournalist based in Vilnius.
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