Amendola / Drone military base for WIRED Magazine

Last month I was sent on assignment for WIRED to document the activity of Amendola, a military base in the province of Foggia. The base has been converted into an operative control center of Predator and Reaper aircrafts drones.

The article by Federico Petroni explores past scenarios in which these aircrafts have been used, such as information acquisition in Afghanistan, and talks about the current use in the context of Mare Nostrum – an operation activated after the last tragic accident in Lampedusa – which objectives are to control the flow of migrants and reduce the dangers by constantly patrolling the skies above the island.

Predator drones are able to fly for more than 20 consecutive hours at heights of about 8000 meters. With good visibility they can read a name of a boat and even recognize faces of passengers. This last ability in particular has been key to organize rescue teams on land and arrest the illegal carriers.

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Below I’ve also included the cover of the newly restyled magazine and a spread featuring its manifesto for re-growth, a beautiful inspirational mantra for a new look at the future.

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Real People Campaign for CMP F.lli Campagnolo

I’m very glad to be shooting more adv work that features real stories these days – I see it as a great (and healthy) direction for contemporary advertising. I recently had the opportunity to shoot and direct two campaigns for CMP Campagnolo, shooting both stills and video.

We traveled to South Tyrol, Italy, to meet two very special people and listen to their outdoor life stories. Just like to copy reads, we focused on showing a day in the life, staying 100% true to who these people are.

Below the print runs and exposition panels (amazing to see the printed huge and backlit)

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And one of the commercial I’ve directed with the infinite video editing help of Edoardo Vojvoda.

Many thanks to Alberto Di Donna and Lucia Zennaro at Pubblimarket 2 for the art direction and logistics. Luisa Borsato at CMP, and Daniela Kremer at Seiseralm and Artur Costabiei at Kronplatz for the location managing. And of course Helga Rauch, Franz Niederkofler and their families.

Paolo Gasparini for New Scientist.

About a month ago I had the chance to portray Paolo Gasparini for the New Scientist. The geneticist got back from a 20.000 kilometers expedition on the Silk Road, trying to establish what are the connections between genes and preferences in taste.
Below the tearsheets of a fascinating interview by Laura Margottini and the article that generated from it which appeared on the May 18th 2013 issue.

Many thanks to Teresa Frausin and Maurizio Polese for their help.

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Soldier of the future for Wired Magazine.

This is a very interesting (and quite disturbing) story I’ve photographed for the may issues of Wired Magazine. Federico Ferrazza, the tech journalist who wrote it, analyzed in depth the technology that is being tested right now on the field by italian soldiers – the weapons and devices that will allow them to be constantly inter-connected, turning them into live sensors on the field. Below some of the original pages of the magazine.

Special thanks to Enrico Caputo for his “equipment rental” ❤

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Centenario BNL / Adv Campaign

A few weeks ago I was hired to shoot a national ad campaign for BNL. The project for Banca Nazionale del Lavoro was focused on the gestures of different professions, making actions talk – instead of words. The copy reads: “For 100 years we have been listening to this Italy”. It has been intensive and very “guerrilla style” production. We photographed real workers in real locations, which required us to move quickly and seamlessly on set. We traveled between two italian regions, Friuli and Lombardia, shooting small artisans workshops and large industrial assembly lines, portraying the protagonists of Italy’s economic growth in the last century. Overall a fantastic experience that once again made me fall in love with somewhat documenting what my nation is. Here are three of the subjects that have already been published.

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Together with the photographs, the campaign also features a beautiful movie directed by Emanuele Crialese, director among others of Nuovomondo and Terraferma, two award-winning movies of the last twenty years. This is the integral version of the commercial:

Also, below some backstage snapshots taken on set throughout the week.

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Sguardi d’atelier / A photo exhibition.

Marcolin has been producing and exporting italian luxury eyewear for more than fifty years. This company started from as a small artisan workshop in Cadore, Veneto – with the simple yet revolutionary idea of embellishing the frames with different metals, instead of regular plastic.

This March, the company will present an exhibition featuring portraits of artists and makers worldwide, who use their eyewear in their daily jobs. From Australia to Siberia, from the U.S. to Italy, a team of photographers were to sent to capture a day in the life of these people.

I was honored to be assigned to the Milan chapter , photographing fashion hair stylist Davide Diodovich – a very talented and kind man (here is a link to his website).

Below are some of the portraits I took of him when I visited the studio. These and many other images from all the other participating photographers will be displayed starting Tuesday, March  5th at Spazio Edit , in Via Maroncelli 14, Milan.

A huge ‘thank you’ goes out to Davide, Gioia, Orietta, Susanna, Maurizio and Teo.

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Paolo Pellegrin for the Photographer’s Interview project.

The recent announcement of World Press Photo’s winner Paul Hansen (and the debate on image post-production) brought to my mind this encounter:

Outtake shot from the interview with Paolo Pellegrin in Rome, September 2012.

“Yes, I think photojournalism is still necessary. I think it’s a completely different language compared to television or radio. It takes a specific effort of interpretation from the viewer – but particularly because of that, it creates a stronger connection and understandment between who creates the image and who looks at it.”

Here is the link to this year’s winners: http://ti.me/12o2TOf (TIME Lightbox)

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Paolo Pellegrin in his office. Rome 2012 – From the Photographer’s interview project / still in the works.

© Mattia Balsamini 2012

Caorso nuclear power plant for Wired Magazine.


In December of last year I got assigned for Wired
 Magazine to photograph the nuclear power plant of Caorso, Italy. Its reactors have been turned off in 1986 – but the dismantling is still ongoing. Caorso is going to be the largest reclamation of a nuclear site in Europe. So there is a very delicate debate on where the national deposit of nuclear waste will be located. The article (in italian) is by Guido Romeo, at this link.

Below are some of the published images on the current February issue and some outtakes.

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No pictures please.

Trieste is magical. A border town facing the Adriatic, confining with Slovenija.

Most of the times I go there to do something, I come back with something else, which is usually much more than what I have expected. This is Walter Macovaz, the oldest lutist in the city. A couple of years ago he retired and closed his shop to the general public. He now only takes commissions for instruments he really likes. Most of them are large strings. After taking the picture I asked him if I could use the restroom, walked in the back going trough a larger part of his laboratory and realize he is now building boats and crazy musical boxes.

Oh by the way: don’t try to contact him: he doesn’t really like to be photographed or bothered.

(Thank you Elena)

Don’t forget the Popcorn.

Francesco Vanin is the CEO of one of Italy’s most known web tv’s PnBox.

The tv is based on the contents offered but the final users, anyone can produce videos, record interviews or any other content and send it to then watch it on demand for free.

Tomorrow Francesco will be brought to trial, facing six months of jail, accused by the order of journalist to be broadcasting information without actually being a journalist and provide a service to the community that replaces standard means of communication.

Italy has already faced issues on similar topics earlier this year with the legislative reform proposal (paragraph 29) in which there was a requirement for all websites to publish, within 48 hours of the request without comment, a correction of any content that the applicant considers detrimental to its image. Fortunately the proposal didn’t pass.

PnBox’s case will probably be a very representative one in the scenario of free information.

So the appointment is tomorrow, 12pm at the Pordenone Courthouse, for probably what would be the final decision. Don’t forget the popcorn and soda.