Born in Paris in 1962 to Life staff photographer Pierre Boulat and Cosmos photo agency founder Annie Boulat, Alexandra Boulat studied graphic art and art history at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. She became a photojournalist in 1989.
With a focus on news, conflicts, and social issues, Boulat covered subjects ranging from child trafficking in Romania to an Yves Saint Laurent fashion show. From 1991 to 1999, Boulat documented the conflict in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. She also covered the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the role of women in Islamic nations, and the invasion of Iraq.
Boulat's photos have been published in Time, Newsweek, and Paris-Match, among other publications. Her work has appeared in National Geographic many times, beginning with a February 2000 article on Kosovo. Subsequent subjects have included the Albanian people, culture and conflict in Indonesia, and the Berbers of Morocco.
Boulat has published two books, Paris (2002) and Éclats de Guerre (Lights of War) (2002), and received many international awards.
In 2001, Boulat co-founded the VII photo agency, intended to document conflict—environmental, social, and political—to "produce an unflinching record of the injustices created and experienced by people."
Boulat is known for her nearly two decades of work capturing poignant images of people affected by war. She died of a brain aneurysm at the age of 45 in 2007.