Who I am:

Even though I come from photojournalism and favour documentary photography, for a long time my authorship is more aimed at seeking new languages based on metaphor, imagination and conceptualization rather than the direct and simple matter of fact. As an artist and storyteller,I am interested in demolishing the clichés that often accompany photography. In my projects, interpretation takes on a fundamental role. On the one hand it allows me maximum freedom of expression, on the other hand it grants it equally to those who observe. And in this mutual relationship of giving and taking, never passive or unaware, I am able to use multiple forms of expression: images, texts, elaborations and blanks. The form is not predominant but only necessary and always in balance with the content that, on the contrary, becomes primal. My interest is in social themes because it is in society that universal elements can be found. I often start from specific events or realities to investigate cause and effect relationships, relationship between man and the environment, between time and space, between matter and spirit and to raise questions of a more general nature involving a wider audience.


Born in Turin, Massimo Mastrorillo studied at the University of Perugia and graduated in photography at the European Institute of Design in Rome, where he currently lives. After working for years as a commercial photographer and for numerous Italian and international Travel Magazines, he decided to devote himself to photojournalism, working mainly on long-term photographic projects, analyzing the profound consequences of conflicts and natural disasters in society.

His works have been published in various Italian and international newspapers and exhibited in galleries, festivals and museums around the world. Also, he won numerous awards including the World Press Photo, the Pictures of the Year International (Magazine Photographer of the Year), the Best of Photojournalism (Magazine Photographer of the Year), the FNAC “Attention Photographic Talent”, the PDN Photo Annual, the International Photographer of the Year at the 5th Annual Lucie Awards, the Sony World Photography Awards, a nomination for the 2009 Prix Pictet “Earth”, the Aftermath Grant (finalist, 2011), two nominations for the Prix Pictet (2009 “Earth”, 2015 “Disorder”), two shortilists for the prestigious Vevey Images Grant (2015-2017).

In 2011 he founded MASTODON collective, together with the well-known Canadian photographer Donald Weber and the writer Larry Frolick, with whom he worked on the project “Life After Zero Hour” on the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Mastrorillo recently completed “The Sea are Us”, a project on confiscated properties of the mafia in Italy. A complex job that requires a wide use of images and texts in an attempt to create greater imaginative and metaphorical power on such a complex and little-known theme. The “Sea is us”was selected for the Luma Dummy Book Award 2019, for the Images Vevey Book Award and for the Vevey Images Grant.

For several years he has dedicated himself to teaching. He worked at the Scuola Romana di Fotografia in Rome (several of his students have pursued successful professional careers), John Kaverdash in Milan, the Leica Akedemie. In 2013 he founded LUZ Academy within the agency LUZ (born from Grazia Neri Agency) of which he was also a talent manager and art director for two years. The goal of this academy was to create new talents within the agency and allow the authors to carry out high-level training activities. Since 2016 to 2020 he was a teacher of documentary photography and didactic director at the REA Academy in Rome. From 2017 to 2020 he teached Contemporary Photography at the Accademia del Costume e della Moda in Rome.

He is one of the founder of Door (2015), a factory for the conception, design and dissemination of visual culture, especially photographic. Over the years with the Door Academy, where he was the main teacher, he collaborated with prestigious authors such as Ricardo Cases, Antonio Xoubanova, Federico Clavarino, Max Pinckers, Niccolò De Giorgis, Martin Kollar, Rafal Milach, Bertien Van Manen, Anouk Kruitof, Oscar Monzon, David Campany, Sophie Ristelhueber, Adam Broomberg, Julian Germain, Vanessa Winship, Joan Fontcuberta.

In 2017-18 Door created LIBRO, the first master on the photobook in Italy, in which ten authors, including photographers and graphic designers (J Carrier, Ricardo Cases, Jason Fulford, Eloi Gimeno, Hans Gremmen, Jeffrey Ladd, Massimo Mastrorillo, Ed Panar, Gregoire Pujade-Lauraine, Antonio Xoubanova) teach and interact with students with workshops, talks and online tutoring.

Again, with Door and in collaboration with Materia gallery in Rome, Mastrorillo created the international talent call LATENT which selects an author for a residency aimet at developing an artistic project on the city of Rome. The call received an average of nearly 200 submissions for each edition.

Mastrorillo was Leica Ambassador for about three years.


• Fujifilm Euro Press Photo Awards/ Italia 2005 section Europe.

• Honorable mention Korea International Documentary Photo Award 2005

• World Press Photo 2006: Nature 1st prize singles

• 63 Pictures of the Year International Contest: third prize Magazine Photographer of the Year

• 2006 NPPA Best of Photojournalism contest: third prize Photojournalist of the Year.

• Humanity Photo Awards 2006: first prize Traditional Rites

• Bronze AOP Photography Award Document 2007

• PDN’s Photo Annual Contest 2007/Photojournali-sm

• International Photography Awards 2007- Professional photographer of the year/ Editorial

• FNAC Prize “Attenzione Talento Fotografico 2007”

• International Photographer of the Year at the 5th Annual Lucie Awards (2007)

• La Nazione Prize at the Lucca Digital Photofestival

• Sony World Photography Awards: third prize Con-temporary Issues (2008)

• Nomination for the Prix Pictet 2009 “Earth”,

• Aftermath Grant (finalist 2011)

• Second price in the 4th edition of Premio del Pae-saggio Regione Sardegna.

• PDN’s Photo Annual contest 2012/Photojournali-sm

• Nominated for the Prix Pictet 2015 “Disorder”

• Shortlisted for the Vevey Images Grant 2015-2017


• Kurdi, un popolo in esilio. Mazzotta editore

• Mozambico, il futuro è possibile. Edizioni Leonardo

• ALIQUAL. Skinnerbox editore


OMNELAB artists in residence (May 31st-June 11th 2016, Castelfranco Veneto, Italy)

Visiting Artist Lecture Venues

• Franklyn and Marshall College, Lancaster, Penn-sylavania, U.S.A.

• Bursa Photofestival, Turkey

• Zaman “Time in Turkey” Project, Istanbul, Turkey

Art direction

• Photopia Festival, Reggio Calabria, April 2016

• Latent Call

Selected Private Collection

• Museo del Folclore di Nuoro

• Regione Sardegna

• FNAC Italy

• IGAV Istituto Garuzzo per le Arti Visive