Alex Majoli

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Alex Majoli (born 1971)[1] is an Italian photographer known for his documentation of war and conflict. He is a member of Magnum Photos.

Majoli's work focuses on the human condition and the theater within our daily lives.

Life and work[edit]

Majoli was born in Ravenna, Italy.[1] He attended the Art Institute in Ravenna.

Majoli's career started to develop after he went to photograph the closing of the notorious insane asylum on the island of Leros in Greece, which resulted in his first monograph titled Leros. This was mainly because of his interest in the theories of Franco Basaglia, a pioneer of the modern concept of mental health, famous for having abolished the psychiatric hospitals in Italy.

Majoli's early interest in psychiatric care led him to go to Brazil which marked the beginning of his 20 year long, ongoing project called “Tudo Bom”, a compelling body of work about the multi layered, complex country and specifically the extremes found in the darker side of its society.

Throughout the years Majoli has worked as a photojournalist. His many years of experience photographing people in all kinds of circumstances have made him explore the idea of being actors in our own lives. He understands his role as a photographer can make people perform in their own natural setting and therefore he tries to exaggerate this by using artificial light to dramatize an otherwise daily routine.

His pictures become scenes from films where people, through their performance, express their own selves in what then becomes a film set or a theater stage. When one looks at these photographs, one can only wonder if this is fact or fiction. The thin line between reality and theater, documentary and art and human behavior and acting is the kind of friction that keeps fascinating him and keeps making him return to the streets and places where the human condition is called into question. Even in the most tragic of miseries he finds the theater, the pride, and above all the magnificence of the human spirit.

He is currently working on a project about the fragmentation and polarization of Europe's identity as it grapples to come to terms with the realization that it can no longer isolate itself from the crisis unfolding just across the Mediterranean. With this project, Majoli aims to invite the audience to question what is happening with the ideology of Europe as a whole and xenophobia, the refugee crisis and the extreme right wing across the entire continent in specific.

Majoli lived in New York City for 14 years, after which he moved to Sicily.[1] He has been a member of Magnum Photos since 2001 and was its president from 2011 to 2014.[1]



  • 1988, Pensiamoci stanotte, Galleria La Bottega, Ravenna, Italy
  • 1997, Slave, Casa do Olodum, Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
  • 1998, Bambini, Palazzo Reale, Genova, Italy
  • 1999, Leros, Galleria Immagina, Venice, Italy
  • 1999, Massacre, Radiosity Gallery, Milan, Italy
  • 2000, Leros, Ospedale Psichiatrico Paolo Pini, Milan, Italy
  • 2004, Leros, VeryTrolley Gallery, London
  • 2006, Mi manchi, Magazino dello zolfo, Ravenna, Italy
  • 2006, Leros, Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia, Italy


  • Leros. Italy: West Zone, 1999. ISBN 978-88-87639-00-1.
  • One Vote. France: Filigranes, 2004.
  • Libera Me, Book I. London: Trolley, 2010. ISBN 978-1907112225.
  • Congo. New York City: Aperture, 2015. Photographs by Majoli and Paolo Pellegrin. ISBN 978-1-59711-325-0. With a text by Alain Mabanckou. Edition of 1500 copies (700 in French and 800 in English).


  1. ^ a b c d "Interview with Alex Majoli". Vogue Italia. 14 October 2018. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  2. ^ "2003 Infinity Award: Photojournalism". International Center of Photography. 23 February 2016. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  3. ^ a b "Alex Majoli". American Photo. November–December 2004. p. 34 – via Google Books. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  4. ^ "Winner 2004, Accessed 17 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Mubarak Steps Down". World Press Photo. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  6. ^ "Taking history: World Press Photo exhibition 2012 – in pictures". The Guardian. 7 November 2012. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-01-08.

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