“This is my personal aspiration: to leave my own testimony in the constant search of that perfect combination between beauty and truth we call art.”
Grassani’s work focuses mainly on long terms documentary projects in which he explores the consequences of climate change, war, and their aftermath on society.
He has been working in Iran, Israel and the Palestinian Territories but in 2011 he began a new long-term project called, “Environmental migrants: the last illusion” documenting around the world the life of the people forced to migrate because of climate changes and with no alternative to the illusion of a better life in the city.
About / Biography
Alessandro Grassani (b.1977, Italy) is a storyteller who uses photography as his main form of expression. He began working in the advertising industry, but his job brought him around the world covering international events and stories about social themes in more than 30 countries. He works with The New York Times and L’Espresso. His images have been featured in magazines such as Time, Sunday Times, National Geographic, M le magazine du Monde. Grassani’s clients includes NGOs and organizations such as Doctors of the World and IOM, International Organization for Migration.
He has won numerous awards including Sony World Photography Awards, Days Japan International Photojournalism Awards, Luis Valtueña International Humanitarian Photography Award and Premio Luchetta International Award and his work has been exhibited at festivals and galleries worldwide including the United Nations, Museum of Immigration at the Palais de la Porte Dorèe in Paris, Royal Geographic Society in London, and the International Center for Climate Governance.
Describe the moment when photography changed your life.
Photography changed my life from the very beginning. While I was studying it, I met Silvia, who was attending my same course. She then became my partner, then my wife and then mother of my child. Photography was and still is a partner in life that has shaped every moment of my existence, and I continue to love it. For me photography is happiness and at the same time bitter awareness, because in addition to being my life partner, it is also the tool I use to know and to tell the world: too often callous and brutal.
Describe what kind of photographer you consider yourself to be.
I think I am an honest documentary photographer, who does his job with passion and commitment.
What is the most important photograph or body of work you have worked on to date?
I don't become very attached to individual images, I prefer to reason by series of images, stories, projects and I also believe that the most important is always the latest project I am working on, simply because it is the creation closest to you, at least conceptually. Let me say though that my project “Journey to Iran”, a journey four years long through a country, which began after the victory of Mohamoud Ahmanedinejad in the 2005 elections, contributed radically in changing my vision of photography.
In that period I was divided professionally between news photography and the develop of long term project, and in Iran, in 2009, during the large pre-election manifestations in public squares (which involved hundreds of thousands of Iranians), I came to the conclusion that in order to continue being a witness to the great changes going on in our world I had to move towards less instinctive photography, to go towards more reflective, in-depth photography.
The icon image of that protest, a young girl killed by a bullet fired by the government forces which tried to repress the pacific protests, was taken with a cell phone by a protester and not by a member of the press, who weren't permitted to attend the manifestations. I realised that smartphones get there first, even before the most clever, quickest reporter, and today we professionals need to have a capability for analysis and interpretation of society that goes beyond the event and the moment... this, at least, is my idea of photography today.
Give us your top three "must-do" photo assignments or personal projects you want to someday shoot.
My job today investigates the consequences of global warming on our society and I believe that I will continue in this direction for the coming years. My greatest wish now is to travel along the imaginary line of the Arctic Circle: I'm fascinated by that world and I want to tell it in this fragile moment.
Give us your thoughts about the Global Imaging Ambassadors program?
I think it is admirable that a company like Sony decides to help and support the projects of a select group of photographers. It is a strong message that goes beyond the technological leadership of a company that looks towards the future without forgetting that photography is a global language that can improve our society.
What is your favorite Sony camera of the moment?
My favorite cameras are both the Sony A7sII and Sony A7rII that I use depending on the size of the file required by my client. They are both small, fast, silent and reliable with an impressive file quality: these are the best features that a street photographer can hope to have in such a compact camera body.
Here is my latest interview on National Geographic PROOF (18 February 2016):
Vario-Tessar® T* FE 24-70 mm F4 ZA OSS
Sonnar® T* FE 35 mm F 2,8 ZA
FE 70-200 mm F4 G OSS
adhesive tape (very useful, this fix everything in emergercy situation)