The story of
Matteo de Mayda or how a picture can actually change the world.
Everybody can take great pictures. Everybody can capture the soul of a moment. Or at least that’s what the new iPhone makes us all believe. But the truth is that being a photographer is way more than just taking beautiful pictures.
Being a photographer is having the power in your hands to make people believe. To make them open their eyes and see what’s really going on out there. Being a photographer has nothing to do with having a camera in your pocket or hanging from your neck.
Being a photographer is being prepared to do whatever it takes. To fly wherever you have to. To meet whomever you need to meet in order to find the right story. To tell the world there’s something more than what they see on social media.
I enjoy the whole process. I don’t like just taking pictures which is 30% of what I do.
- On Photography
And that’s where Matteo de Mayda feels more comfortable, looking deep into what’s actually out there and telling that story to the world. Finding the path to people’s hearts. One picture at a time.
That’s why this Italian living in Treviso flew around the world several times. From China to Kenya, from Algeria to Guatemala he just boarded every plane that could lead him to a great story.
Stories of change. Stories with purpose. Stories of how a bicycle can make the world a better place or even how pastry can actually make a whole culture rethink things.
And that’s why, a few years ago, he quit his job as an agency graphic designer to pursue his dream.
“I felt I was missing something.”
- On His Role as a Graphic Designer
And that something was the content. He felt there was a story behind every project he was working on, but the story was not properly covered, or told.
And when he was feeling all that, when he was in need of a change, Macramè contacted him to work on a photography project. The project: The WorldWide Cycling Atlas. A project that took him to Guatemala and allowed him to test himself as a photographer, offering the world a new perspective, a new way of thinking about the concept of the bicycle.
“I did not know anything about bicycles. But in a few weeks we found over a thousand different stories about bikes around the world.”
- On WWCA
But the WorldWide Cycling Atlas was just the tip of the iceberg. It was the first in a series of purpose-driven projects that made Matteo fall in love with the changing power of photography.
Projects like the one that led him to the Sahrawi Refugee Camp, where he had the opportunity of telling the whole world how a pastry workshop can actually bring about change, shape a culture and give thousands of refugees a job to overcome adversity.
These are the kind of projects he seeks out. These are the kind of projects that allowed him to work for Greenpeace, National Geographic, The New York Times, The Guardian, Rolling Stone Magazine, The Wall Street Journal or the World Health Organization.
These are the kind of projects that seek him out as well, cause you might call it destiny, you might call it luck, but the truth is one of his most important projects was conceived by chance.
“An uncertain dystopia that invites us to reflect on the future of the city.”
- On Era Mare
He took a train to Venice to cover the high tide. That’s true. But he never thought it would be the highest tide in decades. He never thought it would be such worldwide news. And most definitely he never thought it would become a book.
But there he was, capturing one of the most dramatic moments in Venice and (by chance) at the same time being hosted by a book publisher! A book publisher who saw his pictures and yelled “stop the presses”. A book publisher who thought those amazing photos needed the fine writing skills of Francesca Seravalle, to create “an uncertain dystopia that invites us to reflect on the future of the city.”
That’s why, believe it or not, destiny might have something to do with the publishing of Era Mare, a book Matteo describes as “a chronicle of the hanging, fragile atmosphere of Venice, its lagoon and the Venetians.” A book whose profits would be donated to help Venetians get back on track. A book that inspired him and made him realize NGOs needed a new way of telling their stories.
“a comms lab to help NGOs find their stories and get them published by the media”.
- On Baringo
So he created Baringo, on his own words: “a comms lab to help NGOs find their stories and get them published by the media.”
A new way of communicating. A new way of creating engaging content. A new way of using photography to actually change the world. Because, as he says: “there’s no one job that can change things”, but telling these stories to the world comes pretty close.
LA SAPIENZA University in Rome. IUAV University of Venice. NABA (Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti), Milan.
2020 — Best photographer of the year, according to Artribune. 2020 — Winner of REFOCUS award by MiBACT with La Triennale di Milano and MUFOCO. 2020 — Finalist at the Head On Photo Awards. 2020 — Winner at Inner Outlook. 2019 — Finalist at the National Geographic Prize (Cortona on the Move Festival). 2012 — Silver Prize of the italian Art Director Club.
2021 — La Triennale, Milan 2020 — Lector in Fabula, Conversano, Bari. 2020 — Photobook Week Aarhus, Denmark. 2020 — Fotobok Festival, Oslo. 2020 — Head On Photo Festival, Sydney. 2020 — The Gallery by Generali, Milan. 2017 — Gwangju Biennale, South Korea. 2017 — Palazzo Santa Chiara, Rome. 2016 — 15th Architecture Biennale, Venice. 2014 — Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice. 2014 — National Architecture/Design Centre, Sweden. 2013 — United Nations, Geneva. Switzerland. 2013 — Palazzo Valentini, Roma. 2013 2012 — Palazzo Rasponi, Ravenna. 2012 2012 — Fondazione Benetton, Palazzo Bomben, Treviso. 2012 — Palazzo Ducale, Genova. 2011 — Limonaia, Florence.