Alex Majoli (Ravenna, Italy, 1971) is an Italian photographer. He attended the Art Institute in Ravenna. Alex majoli’s main work focuses on the human condition and the theater within our daily lives.
Majoli’s career started 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 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 Majoli explore the idea of being actors in our own lives. Through the development of this idea he started the ongoing project ‘Scene’. He understands that 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 can only wonder if this is fact or fiction. The thin line between reality and theater, documentary and art, 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.
His work is in various selected public collections: The Museum of fine Art of Huston, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, ICP, Marguilles Wareehouse, Snite Museum of Art, MUFOCO, Mucem.
Among many others honors and grants Majoli has received: Eugene Smith grant, Guggenheim fellowship, Infinity Award, Getty, Photographer of the year NPPA, Feature Photography Award OPC.
Books published: Leros, West zone (1999), Trolley books (2002), One vote, Filigrane Edition (2004), Libera me, Trolley Books (2010) , Congo, Aperture (2015), Andante, Cesura Publish (2018) and Scene, Mack books (2019).
Majoli lives in New York and Sicily. He is a Magnum photo’s photographer since 1996 and he is represented by Howard Greenberg Gallery NY.
Gilles Peress started using photography to create museum installations and books in 1971, having previously studied political science and philosophy in Paris. Peress’s experiences during the Iranian Revolution produced the seminal photobook Telex Iran. In the 1990s, extended explorations of the conflicts and genocides in Rwanda (The Silence) and the Balkans (Farewell to Bosnia; The Graves: Srebrenica and Vukovar) evolved into Hate Thy Brother, a cycle of interlocking narratives in books and on walls. In recent years, Peress has continued Hate Thy Brother by revisiting both archival work and the sites where it was made. He is currently at work on De Bello Balcanico, a multivolume rethinking of his earlier books on the Balkans.
In 2021 Peress published Whatever You Say, Say Nothing, his two volume, 1000 page book on the Troubles in the North of Ireland, which Peter Galassi of the Museum of Modern Art described as having “the gripping immediacy and epic sweep of a novel by Tolstoy." A work of “documentary fiction” that organizes a decade of photographs from the 1980s into 22 semi-fictional days, the book articulates the helicoidal structure time assumed during the conflict, where today is not only today but all the days like today; days of violence, days of marching, of riots, of unemployment, of prison, of mourning, and also days of “craic” where you try to forget your condition.
Each of Peress’s projects has been widely exhibited. Peress is included in major public and private collections throughout the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; the National Gallery, Washington, D.C; the Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Fotomuseum Winterthur and Musée de l'Élysée, Switzerland, amongst others.
Peress has been the recipient of many awards and fellowships including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the Erich Solomon Prize, a Pollock-Krasner Grant, and multiple National Endowment for the Arts grants, the New York State Council of the Arts Fellowship and multiple International Center for Photography Infinity Awards.
Peress is Professor of Human Rights and Photography at Bard College, NY and Senior Research Fellow at the Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley. Peress joined Magnum Photos in 1971 and served three times as vice-president and twice as president of the co-operative.