Scenes of life


Alex Majoli, Scene #6404, Cairo, Egypt, February 11, 2001 (2017.22.1)


Alex Majoli, Scene #8040, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Police, June 17, 2014 (2017.22.2)

At the age of fifteen, Alex Majoli joined the F45 photo agency in Ravenna, Italy, and he graduated from the city’s art Institute in 1991. While in art school, Majoli became a member of Grazia Neri Agency and traveled to Yugoslavia to document the ongoing political conflict.

In 1995, Majoli published his first book documenting the patients in a mental hospital that was formerly used as a military hospital in Leros, Greece. That same year he traveled to Brazil where he started the project Tudo Bom. In this he visualizes the darker side of a complex society where daily life is often shaped by hardship and violence. Majoli has been working on this project for twenty years. The series Hotel Marinum that Majoli started in 1998 documents life in harbor cities around the world and was inspired by his life growing up in the port of Ravenna. Majoli has been a member of Magnum Photos since 2001 and has worked on assignment for a variety of publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, The New Yorker, and National Geographic.

Majoli has been inspired by the theories of the Sicilian playwright Luigi Pirandello, who believed there is a thin line between theater and real life and that people take on a role in their daily lives. Over the years, the photographer has examined this philosophy more fully. Majoli does not aspire to document reality. Rather, in his more personal projects, he explores this idea of people as actors in their own lives. In his most recent work, he uses powerful strobe lights to make his subjects aware of the roles they play the scene that he records. The result is cinematic; the dark surroundings of a scene highlight powerful human emotions.

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About claartjevandijk

Assistant Curator, Collections at the International Center of Photography, New York
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