Alex Majoli: Interview

Alex Majoli was born 1971 in Ravenna, Italy. Covering stories in a gritty documentary, yet graphically individual style, from war torn countries to the privileged decadent lifestyles of the New York fashion scene, Alex Majoli empathises with his subject matter, combining beauty and balance.



His highly acclaimed book Leros was published for the second time in 2002. His book One Vote, depicting a series of high contrast portraits of US Democratic voters, was published in 2004. Alex Majoli resides in both New York and Milan.

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into photography? 

My dad gave me a camera when I was about 10 years old and I loved it. I lived with my mom but she was always working. To keep me off the street, she took me to studio f45 in Ravenna and they taught me basically everything I know.

What were some real turning points in your career? 

I don’t really see it as a career, rather a way of life and I guess the turning points would be some of the people I met and the conversations I had with them.

What most influences your work today?


What are you excited about right now? 

Besides drinking Luretta wine, the idea to pick olives with my wife and kids in Sicily.

What is your process for gaining people’s trust, either before, while starting out a project, or when you’re in the middle of the project, how do you get to the core of what you’re going after?

I try to keep it casual, that is always good and you just have to be truthful otherwise it will never work.

Which part of of photography is it you enjoy the most? Is it meeting the people, viewing the final image or something else?

Definitely meeting people from all over the world from any social background.

There is a constant debate around how important education is in relation to photography, and whether university is a waste of time compared to hands on experience. What’s your opinion?

I don’t believe that a school can teach you what experience or something unexpected can.

What is best advice anyone has given to you about photography?

The best advice some of the world’s best photographers have given me was always about editing.

Do you have any advice for young photographers?

Don’t look at what other photographers do, but read books instead.

Berlin, Bears and Refugees