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Agence VU - Massimo Berruti
Massimo Berruti

Italian. Born in 1979 in Rome where he presently lives.

After a few photography courses, Massimo Berruti stopped his biology studies in 2003 to delve deeper into photography. A freelance photographer since 2004, he started to work in Eastern Europe and mostly Italy. There he focused on immigration, suburbs and the industrial crisis plaguing the region.
Since 2007 he has been traveling in central Asia, particularly in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and began approaching the subject of social change.

"It is very rare that one experiences so directly, before a photographic work, the feeling of what inspired it and of what from day to day was its purpose. It is especially so as this feeling is completely contrary to what we think – or believe – we know of war photography"
Christian Caujolle in "Lashkars" Ed Actes Sud 2011

Massimo Berruti was the laureate of the 2009 City of Perpignan Young Reporter's Award and laureate of the Carmignac Gestion Prize of Photojournalism in 2010.

In 2012, he was recipient of the Eugene Smith Fellowship for « The Dusty Path », his work on Pakistan.


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Portfolio

Stories

Cairo, clashes after Mohamed Morsi's ousting (2013)

In Cairo, Egypt, hundreds of people have died in the recent clashes since President Mohamed Morsi, from the Muslim Brotherhood, was ousted by the army on the 3rd of July. Mohamed Morsi supporters, have condemned what they call a "military coup", while the anti-Morsi activists simply follow the large popular rally of the recent months. Further to the many demonstrations in the district of Ramsis and around Rabaa square, in which the police, the anti-Morsli and the supporters of the the Muslim Brotherhood clashed; 7 people were killed and more than 261 injured. The consequences might not be as serious as they were prior to Morsi being ousted, yet the events of the 15th and 16th of July...

Pakistani general election (2013)

On the 11th of May 2013, the Pakistanis will be called to vote in order to renew the members of the Pakistani National Assembly. Five years after the last election, which took place in a tensed atmosphere further to Benazir Bhutto's assassination, these elections, once again, jeopardise the country's attempt to establish a peaceful democracy. While the various political formations - such as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, PTI ("Pakistan Movement for Justice") of Irman Khan, or the Pakistan Muslim League (N) lead by Nawaz Sharif are campaigning and organizing meetings across the country - Pakistan is once again shaken by terrorists' acts. Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, a major investigator on the...

Hurricane Sandy aftermath in New York (2012)

Massimo Berruti was in New York when hurricane Sandy swept through Manhattan and New Jersey. The South of Manhattan was heavily flooded, almost all public transport were paralized, and damages were huge in the Rockaway peninsula as well as Coney Island. Over a week later, Rockaways is still out of power because of the floods. 15 houses have burnt due to the explosive mix of salt and electricity during the storm.

The Lashkars - Work produced for the Carmignac Gestion Prize of Photojournalism (2011)

The word “Lashkars” which is as old as “Islam” refers to the tribal warriors. Since September 2009 a new kind of operation has been launched in the Swat Valley: the Pastu Civil Society, traditionally trained in the use of weapons and already involved in the fight against the Taliban, got official recognition from the Pakistani Army. The Lashkars are not getting any material help from the army, that recognizes them and their role in the war against militancy. Many of them have been fighting before and during the military operation started in May 2009, but now their main role is to control that the Taliban are not coming back in the valley. This role is particularly important...

Bloodbath in Karachi (2010)

Located in the Southern part of Pakistan, the commercial capital Karachi is the scene of numerous political, ethnical and religious violence. Targeted killings, summary executions and shootings are the daily lot for the inhabitants of the biggest city of Pakistan. This situation is linked mainly to conflicts between the Urdu party MQM, the Pashtun people’s one, ANP, and their both Mafia-like related branches that fight over the lands ownership. Fear seems to dictate its own law when, at dawn, streets are deserted and become the scene of violent gangland killings. Shops owned by Pashtun people are set to fire without any police investigations. Hospitals’ mortuaries are full everyday...

Floods in Pakistan (2010)

Since the end of July, heavy monsoon rains have been pouring in the north of Pakistan, causing considerable damages. The Swat valley region, as well as northern cities such as Peshawar, are hit by this natural disaster. Nearly 2000 people died, and 15 millions people were forced to leave their home. As international aid is being set up, the floods are now spreading to southern areas, threatening to rise the death toll. Experts from the UN and NGO agree that unless there is more international help, the humanitarian situation would worsen what is already considered as the greatest natural disaster ever experienced in Pakistan.

Pakistan media (2010)

Under the pressure of the Taliban and the government repression, the freedom of the media is jeopardized in Pakistan. According to the last report of « Reporters without Borders », Pakistan is the country with the highest number of journalists killed in 2009. In Pakistan, the media and journalists bother both the Taliban and the political power. In their attempts to tell about a war happening at the borders of their country, they’re not always welcome to speak freely. For several months, attacks against the media and press clubs have been increasing in the tribal areas and the main cities (Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Karachi). Even though the 1973 Constitution guarantees...

Peshawar, suicide bombings (2010)

For the past two years, Talibans terrorist attacks have made more than 2000 victims in Pakistan. The population is suffering and the public opinion is putting the blame on the American military policy. These attacks are mostly located in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and its capital Peshawar. The suicide bombing of December 7th, with 10 deaths and 45 people injured, is one of the last examples. It is to be feared that this situation is going to set in with the pressure made by the US Army in Afghanistan. This increasing violence is an answer to the recent incursions (June 2009) of the Pakistani army in the tribal area of the Swat valley and South Waziristan. This border...

Pakistan, The IDPs Drama (the Swat Valley) (2009)

After having received and seen many videos exhibiting violent abuse of women in the Swat valley region, the Pakistani army decided to launch an offensive against the Taliban militias. Since the 15th of May, a military operation commenced in this region to eradicate any Taliban presence. Four million people were displaced in various refugee camps in safer regions. These people are collectively called IDP’s (Internally Displaced Peoples). This operation is closely monitored by the United States who promised financial support for this internal struggle. Special Envoys tell of many civilian deaths on both sides presently, but there are no official statistics. Pakistani journalists do not see...

Aquila earthquake, Italy (2009)

L’Aquila is the main town of the Abruzzo province, victim in April 2009 to an earthquake. Located in the centre of Italy, the city famous for its 99 fountains, squares and churches, has been suffering for ages from tectonic movements. Massimo Berruti went to l’Aquila to report on the situation. One month later, the city still struggles to heal its own wounds. The choice of panoramic shots reinforces the feeling of horror when facing such a large disaster.

Pakistan, the last dogfight (2009)

The 23rd of March marks a national holiday in Pakistan, “Pakistan Day.” This day approaches spring and the inhabitants of the Pakistani countryside use this day to celebrate the renewing of the soil. One of the most important moments of this day is the final fight of the dogs. Dog fighting only take place during the temperate season in order to preserve the health of the animals. The festivities attract thousands of people from the countryside as well tribal folk from each of the four main provinces of Pakistan. For the dog owners, it is an excellent opportunity to prove their talent and win considerable amounts of money.

Pakistan, Daily lives in terror (2009)

Pakistan is a country with much international attention. Like most asian countries implicated in the “War on Terror,” its geopolitical and strategic importance is not to be overlooked. Its military efforts are financially supported by the United States and there is a cordial relationship between the two countries, up until the point when the US violated border agreements and entered Pakistani territory in order to pursue Taliban militants. Pakistan possesses one of the most important nuclear arsenals in all of Asia. Since the Bombay terrorist attacks, security measures have strengthened. Arrests increased, crime was tolerated at a minimum and many arrested are not in the financial...

Pakistan Cadet College (2008)

Pakistan is a troubled country at the center of international interest. Like probably most important Asian countries involved in the "War On Terror" its role is fundamental for development of efforts in order to win this war. Cadet Colleges are the ground where children begin their education as future soldiers and officers Only the richest family can afford to offer this kind of education to their children. Unfortunately military careers are some of the most desired in light of the privileges and high salaries. It guarantees a high quality of life and important influence over "common" people. A day for cadets begin at 5:00 A.M. with physical training, then they have a light breakfast,...

Afghanistan, a daily distress (2008)

Massimo Berruti is not an « Embedded » photographer. His work in Afghanistan is not just about a war. It's a story about Afghan people’s life, destroyed in their flesh and in their soul by a conflict, which has been gnawing them for a long time. Drugs, car bombs, minds that fall into madness slowly but surely. All this is present in Massimo’s pictures...but above all in the situation they document.

Blindness in Gao, Mali (2008)

Mali is the fourth poorest country in the world. In this region, both taking into account genetic factors and not, there are 2 million blind among a population of 20 million. The strong natural light and the proximity of the population to the waters of the Niger river only partly explain this phenomenon. In light of this situation of dire need and sickness, a humanitarian initiative has been undertaken bythe Air Force, aided by a team of surgeon-ophthalmologists from Fete Bene Fratelli, and by the AFM AL. The seventh repeat of this mission saw 700 successful operations. As often happens in Mali; the blind are accompanied by their child-guide, chosen within their family or simply...

Books

Lashkars

Massimo Berruti a enquêté dans la vallée de Swat, au Pakistan pour suivre la vie quotidienne des Lashkars, milices civiles historiquement formées par d’anciens guerriers tribaux, qui se placent en première ligne face à la menace talibane pour défendre les leurs, avec le soutien de l’armée pakistanaise. Les Lashkars contribuent à pacifier et sécuriser la zone face aux attentats à la bombe et au risque d’infiltration des insurgés.

Massimo Berruti a réalisé ce reportage au Pachtounistan de janvier à avril 2011 dans le cadre du Prix Carmignac Gestion du Photojournalisme.
Text by: Edouard Carmignac, Christian Caujolle et Olivier Weber

Publisher: Actes Sud Editions (2011)
112 pages
Size: 20cm x 26cm
ISBN :233000219X   

Awards


    2012 - W. Eugene Smith Fellowship

    2011 - World Press Photo. General News: 2nd Prize stories for "Targeted killings in Karachi, Pakistan"

    2011 - Picture Of the Year: Third Place Issue Reporting Picture Story for "Targeted Killings in Karachi, Pakistan"

    2010 - "Peshawar's Funerals" Award of Excellence, News Picture Story, POY ( Picture of the Year)

    2010 - Carmignac Gestion Prize of Photojournalism

    2009 - City of Perpignan Young Reporter's Award (with his report : Pakistan - Fact or Fiction?)

    2008 - Selected for the 15th JOOP SWART MASTERCLASS

    2008 - 2nd Prize in General News in the International Photography Award

    2008 - Scoop International Festival of Angers, Jury Special Mention.

    2007 - World Press Photo : Second prize reportage in "Contemporary issue"

Exhibitions



Lashkars (Sète)
From 2013-09-19 to 2013-11-02

The Lashkars are civilian militia historically formed of tribal warriors, who place themselves in the front line facing the Taliban threat to defend their own people, with the support of the Pakistani army. The Lashkars contribute to pacify and to ensure the security of the zone in view of the bomb attacks and of the risk of infiltration of the insurgents. In 2007, the Swat valley, at the northern border of Pakistan, fell into the hands of the Taliban before returning under the control of the Pakistani army after the offensive carried out in 2009 against the fundamentalist insurgents. At...

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Lashkars (Arles)
From 2012-07-02 to 2012-09-23

The Lashkars are civilian militia historically formed of tribal warriors, who place themselves in the front line facing the Taliban threat to defend their own people, with the support of the Pakistani army. The Lashkars contribute to pacify and to ensure the security of the zone in view of the bomb attacks and of the risk of infiltration of the insurgents.\rIn 2007, the Swat valley, at the northern border of Pakistan, fell into the hands of the Taliban before returning under the control of the Pakistani army after the offensive carried out in 2009 against the fundamentalist insurgents. At the...

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Lashkars (Milan)
From 2012-04-26 to 2012-05-27

The Lashkars are civilian militia historically formed of tribal warriors, who place themselves in the front line facing the Taliban threat to defend their own people, with the support of the Pakistani army. The Lashkars contribute to pacify and to ensure the security of the zone in view of the bomb attacks and of the risk of infiltration of the insurgents. In 2007, the Swat valley, at the northern border of Pakistan, fell into the hands of the Taliban before returning under the control of the Pakistani army after the offensive carried out in 2009 against the fundamentalist insurgents. At the...

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Lashkars (Paris)
From 2011-10-04 to 2011-12-03

Les milices civiles pachtounes face aux talibans (Vallée de Swat, Pakistan).\r\rPrix Carmignac Gestion du photojournalisme 2010.\r\r\rL’exposition de Massimo Berruti, Lashkars, restitue tout le souffle du grand reportage à travers un accrochage traduisant fidèlement le courage de ces hommes et de ces garçons qui défient, heure par heure, jour et nuit, la peur constante d’un nouveau soulèvement des talibans. La sélection, qui comprend quatorze panoramiques, souligne les émotions des acteurs de ce drame à travers une grande diversité de cadrages, reflets d’autant de points de...

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Pakistan, fact or fiction? (Vernouillet)
From 2010-05-25 to 2010-06-05

Pakistan is a troubled country at the centre of international interests and is now facing difficult times. Many differences and languages divide its people since the very foundation of the country and now after many years of troubles and dictatorship these people are still living in a constant fragile balance. The failure of the army in the so-called “War on Terror” against Taliban militias is obvious and population has become the target of an invisible enemy. But Pakistanis do not give up in front of fear. While they might not be aware of the causes of this situation, they know that the...

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Residence Roma (JB Groningen)
From 2009-09-06 to 2009-10-04

The Roma Residence is a group of buildings located at 451 de la Via di Bravetta, 10 minutes from the Vatican. Each building contains hundred of beds. The proprietor is Massimo Mezzaroma, a housing entrepreneur. In accordance with the town council; the complex serves as a welcome center. Over the years, these buildings have housed thousands of people. The municipality takes care of rent and loges the needy, the other tenants rent from the proprietor. In 1983, the municipality spent 4 million liras, a month, for each bed occupied by those having rights to housing assistance, and since then,...

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Pakistan - Fact or Fiction? (Perpignan)
From 2009-08-29 to 2009-09-13

Pakistan is a troubled country at the center of international geopolitical interests and is facing difficult times. The people have always been divided by differences and language, and now, after years of disturbances and dictatorship, the balance is very fragile. The "War on Terror" with the army fighting against the Taliban has clearly failed and the people have now become the target of an invisible enemy. But the Pakistanis have not surrendered to fear. While they may not understand the reasons for the situation, they realize that the violence is designed to destabilize the country, no...

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