Robert Polidori was born in Montreal in 1951 and grew up in the United States, where he still lives. In the early 1970s, he worked as an assistant to filmmaker Jona Mekas at Anthology Film Archives in New York. Polidori completed his MFA in film studies at the State University of New York in Buffalo, where he was taught by Paul Sharits, Woody Vasulka, and Steina Vasulka. He then moved away from experimental filmmaking to focus on architectural photography using a large-format camera, known for its ability to provide incredible detail. In the mid-1980s, he began a twenty-six-year-long project documenting the restoration of the Palace of Versailles. His photograph Salle de l’Afrique, Portrait Achille Bazaine 1867, Versailles (1985) is part of this emblematic series, which has been widely exhibited in contemporary galleries since 2010, including the Flowers Gallery, in London, and the Mary Boone Gallery in New York.
Other remarkable series by Polidori include Beyrouth (1994-96), Havana (1997-2000), Pripyat and Chernobyl (2001), and New Orleans (2005-06). From 1998 to 2006, Polidori worked as a photographer for The New Yorker. He won a World Press Award in 1998, and an Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for magazine photography in 1990 and 2000. His work has been the subject of over fifteen exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world. In 2009, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal presented his first retrospective. His photographs are included in important museum collections throughout North America and Europe.