Hi I’m Maddalena and I’ve chosen to be based in Berlin. I love photography & art, leading teams, managing projects, social media, storytelling, organizing productions and events. I have skills on both sides of the picture desk as a photo editor and photographer. I speak Italian, German, English, Spanish and a bit of French. I also love somersaults and flick flacks.
Where it all began
I was born near Milan, Italy, at the beginning of the 80’s in a fully analogue world. A world with no internet, no cell phones, no mp3s and no digital cameras. Some Social Scientists call the people born in those years the Last of the Innocents. I am allegedly part of a generation who still recalls “empty yawning hours and days of nothing much at all”. The last generation who still experienced how it is “to be truly alone with their thoughts”. WOW. I do in fact remember talking and playing with my friends for hours, without the distractions and interruptions that portable devices bring along. You know, all those texts, notifications, sounds, snapshots, apps…
I was born in a time when pictures needed days, if not weeks to materialize themselves. A time during which photography wasn’t immediate as it is today. How can I forget the excitement I felt when I was picking up the prints from the local photographer? Or the disappointment that rose when realizing that picture you have patiently been waiting for was completely out of focus?
My relationship with photography started way before I had my first camera in the hands, though. It probably started when my parents brought me and my siblings to visit museums and archeological sites during our holidays. Long and slow vacations that we usually spent in our caravan driving around Italy and Europe. Only now I am aware of how highly educational and how pivotal those holidays would be for my future. I am extremely grateful and thankful to my family for opening my eyes and enlightening me with such beauty.
At school I enjoyed art classes even though I’ve never been exceptionally good at drawing or painting. But history of art classes were like dope. I’ve always been deeply impressed by the the greatness of the ancient Greeks and the apparently imprecise color strokes of the Impressionists. Yes, the Impressionits whose rise was a partial response to the new born medium of photography. The medium that finally allowed to create durable images by recording light. The medium that freezes a moment in time and that in some cultures is believed to steal your soul.
As a teenager I was shooting with simple automatic compact cameras. I had no interest at all in the devices. I just wanted to press the shutter and create memories of my life because I felt that images were more direct than words. And I still feel the same way.
My first camera and Berlin
Everything changed in 2003, when my father gave me his 25 years old Canon AT-1. I was going to Berlin for a couple of semesters to study at the Freie Universität and I wanted a proper camera to document that adventure.
Berlin was my photographic playground. During the months I spent there I’ve learnt how to take pictures on a completely manual SRL camera. I started to understand the magical mechanisms and techniques behind “drawing with light”… without the help of Photoshop or any YouTube tutorial. It was just pure analogue learning by doing.
First steps as a photographer
I spent a year in the capital city of the reunited Germany. Then I went back to Milan to finish my Bachelor Degree in Intercultural Communication. In 2004 I bought my first digital reflex camera, which gave me the technical means to quickly improve my skills. My first digital camera killed the monetary and time-consuming burden hidden in films’ development. But it also killed a bit of the magic.
In 2006 I was feeling confident enough with my DSLR so I started a collaboration with WU an Italian independent lifestyle magazine. I also began working as an assistant for some fashion, beauty and interior photographers. Those were crucial years for my photographic training, because I understood how much work there is behind a single image.
From 2006 till 2009 I was attending my Master Course in Audiovisual Communication and Languages at the Sacred Hearth University in Milan. But that wasn’t enough to satisfy my appetite for photography. So I decided to enroll at Istituto Italiano di Fotografia to take a 2 years course while simultaneously studying to obtain my Master Degree, assisting other photographers, working as an event photographer for clubs, agencies and festivals.
It was 2009 and I was near finishing my thesis in the linguistic analysis of Eastern and Western German television news during the fall of the Berlin wall. Having obtained a Degree with a Cum Laude final note and was eager to grow outside academics.
Thanks to my curiosity and the vibrant network in Milan, I dug deeper into the photographic universe and found the photo editor position. I discovered its importance what it encompasses and began a course to become a photo editor with focus on photojournalism with the Italian magazine Internazionale at the LUISS Business School in Rome.
Bye bye Italy
Soon I found that the Italian market didn’t have a place for newly graduated photo editors. It was clear that I had to move to another Country to pursue the career that I was looking for and I moved to Berlin, the other big love of my life.
It was 2010, I was young and full of energy and ideas when I moved to Berlin. I immediately started rolling up my sleeves: I accepted all kind of jobs when I arrived.
Now it’s 2023 and during these incredible 13 years I worked internationally for very diverse companies and agencies a freelance and as an employee and I covered a wide range of seniority.