Alessandro Penso studied clinical psychology at Rome’s La Sapienza University. In 2007, he received a scholarship to study photojournalism at the “Scuola Romana di Fotografia”. Since completing his studies, his work has won several awards, including:
- PDN Photo Student Award
- PDN Photo Annual Award
- Project Launch Award in Santa Fe 2011
- Terry O’ Neill TAG Award 2012
- Sofa Global Award 2013
- 1st General News of World press Photo
- Magnum Foundation Emergency Found
- Burn Emerging Photographer Found
- Photo Story of the Year Time Magazine
Alessandro is deeply committed to social issues, and in recent years he has been focusing on the issue of immigration in the Mediterranean. During this time, he has produced work on detention centres in Malta, the situation of migrant workers in the agricultural sector in the south of Italy, and young people stuck in limbo in Greece. Motivated by the desire to raise awareness of situations of injustice at Europe’s margins, Alessandro intends to continue working on this issue in the months and years to come.
Alessandro is also keenly aware that the difficult social and economic conditions in Mediterranean countries are providing an outlet for the phenomena of cultural closure, xenophobia and violence, which represent, for migrants, an insurmountable obstacle to their enjoyment of even the most basic human rights. In 2012, he witnessed a brutal attack on a group of migrants in Corinth, Greece, in which one young man, Mostafa, was hit by a car. This experience has further motivated Alessandro to continue his work on this issue, also in an effort to raise awareness of and to help combat xenophobia and race-related violence.
He hopes his work will also help fight the dehumanisation and stereotyping of migrants which can take place in public discussion, sometimes for political gain. Alessandro’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including Stern Magazine, The Guardian, BBC, The New York Times, Businessweek, Time Magazine, the International Herald Tribune, Human Rights Watch, L’Espresso, Internazionale, D di Repubblica, Vanity Fair Italia, El Periodico, Le journal de la photographie, Enet and Ekathimerini.