Ian Berry (born 1934 in England) moved to South Africa in 1952, where he soon taught himself photography. After working for the new African Sunday newspaper eGoli and the Benoni City Times, he soon became more interested in freelance work. In the early 1960s he worked for the Daily Mail. Later Tom Hopkinson, previously editor of the British Picture Post, hired Berry to work for Drum magazine.
He was invited by Henri Cartier-Bresson to join Magnum Photos in 1962 when he was based in Paris; five years later he became a full member. In 1964 he moved to London and began working for Observer Magazine. He has since traveled the globe, documenting social and political strife in China, Republic of Congo, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, Israel, Ireland, Vietnam, and the former Soviet Union. He has contributed to publications including Esquire, Fortune, Geo, Life, National Geographic, Paris-Match, and Stern.