"It is beautiful to take pictures. "

- Alex Majoli

b. 1971


Based in New York, USA


Available for commissions
& assignments

Alex Majoli was born in Ravenna, Italy, in 1971. He attended the Art Institute in Ravenna. His work focuses on the human condition and the theater within our daily lives.

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

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

Over many years, Majoli has worked as a photojournalist. The experience of photographing people in all kinds of circumstances has led him to explore the idea that everyone is an actor in their own life. This is why he started the ongoing project, “Scene.” He understands that his role as a photographer can make people perform in their own natural setting, so he tries to exaggerate this by using artificial light to dramatize an otherwise daily routine. His pictures become scenes in which people, through their performances, express themselves in what becomes a film set or a theater stage. The thin line between fact and fiction, documentary and art, human behavior and acting provides the kind of friction that keeps him returning to the 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.

Majoli’s work is in various public collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, International Center of Photography, MarguliesCollection, Snite Museum of Art, MUFOCO and Mucem. Among many honors, he has received the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Fellowship for Humanistic Photography, Guggenheim Fellowship, ICP Infinity Award, Getty Images Grant, NPPA Photographer of the Year and OPC Feature Photography Award. His books include One Vote (2004), Libera Me (2010), Congo (2015), Andante (2018), Scene (2019) and Opera Aperta (2021).

Alex Majoli lives in New York. He joined Magnum Photos in 1996, becoming a full member in 2001.

Selected works



Alex Majoli

With his first book, Alex Majoli creates an intimate study of the psychiatric hospital located on the Greek island of Leros

Open story
Stay in touch
Learn about online and offline exhibitions, photography fairs, gallery events, plus fine print news and activities, on a monthly basis.
Get fortnightly tips and advice articles, find out about the latest workshops, free online events and on-demand courses.
Stay up to date every Thursday with Magnum photographers’ activities, new work, stories published on the Magnum website, and the latest offerings from our shop.