Martina Bacigalupo was born in 1978 in Genova.

After reading literature and philosophy in Italy, she studied photography at the London College of Printing. In 2005 she won the Black & White Photographer of the Year Award, and joined Reflexion Masterclass in Paris.

For the past four years Martina has been working as a freelance photographer in East Africa, mainly based in Burundi, working on personal projects and collaborating with different international NGOs (Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Médecins Sans Frontières, Care, Handicap International).

Her work has been published, among others, on Internazionale, Esquire, Sunday Times Magazine, Elle, Jeune Afrique, Io Donna.

Martina was selected for the 2008 Joop Swartt Masterclass and won the Amilcare Ponchielli Grin Award in 2009. In 2010 she was awarded the Canon Female Photojournalist Award.

She is member of Agence Vu in Paris.

Christian Caujolle speaks about Martina Bacigalupo's works.


Martina Bacigalupo's work relates clearly and intentionally to a tradition of personal and aesthetic engagement. This is demonstrated by her decision to live in Africa and address questions concerning human rights - essentially the plight of women.
This leads her to a precise and careful choice of themes and problems scrutinized with empathy, always bearing on the human dimension and seeking the appropriate distance to her subjects. This relation is difficult to achieve, because it must combine reserve and proximity, discretion and revelation of the problems under scrutiny. For it is always a question of making complex situations visible, perceivable. And also of avoiding an overly sentimental approach, which, easily flattering the viewer's sentiments, would encourage a vague sense of pity and do disservice to the situations portrayed, by a superficial and finally doubtful dramatization.

Here there is nothing of the kind, but a classic approach to black and white photography, with pure frames, compositions that avoid gratuitous aestheticism, a fine desire to construct stories, to develop narratives that are so many ways to allow for the comprehension of phenomena--rather than judgments, statements and demonstrations. Certain facts exist, they raise questions, and photography allows us to read them in a more limpid way.

"Umumalayika” and “The Women of the Backyard", by following one person, by approaching her without transforming us in voyeurs, but always bearing on the further depths of her feelings and daily life, is exemplary of these qualities. The photographer casts a friendly regard on a dramatic and revealing situation, as if caressing it with delicacy, wondering as we do at such a capacity to love life, to look ahead, to choose the future after the body has been violated. One does not see here an incongruous optimism, but only the proof of a just evaluation of facts, together with a fine confidence in what photography can achieve and communicate.

Christian Caujolle