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Agence VU - Martina Bacigalupo
Martina Bacigalupo

Italian photographer, born in 1978.
Member of the Agence VU’ since 2010, she lives and works mainly in Paris, after spending 10 years in East Africa.

Martina Bacigalupo studied literature and philosophy in Italy and then moved to a photography curriculum at the London College of Communication. She moved to Burundi in 2007. Her work focuses on human rights issues, more precisely on the plight of women in Southern countries. She collaborates with numerous international organizations like Doctors Without Borders, Save The Children, Handicap International, Care International, United Nations and the Red Cross International Committee.

Martina Bacigalupo’s photographs, thanks to a pure sense of framing and accuracy, are that of subtle life stories. She makes no assertion, no judgment.
Her « work clearly and intentionally relates to a tradition of both personal and aesthetic commitment (…). She precisely and carefully chooses the themes which she scrutinizes, but always with empathy, ever keeping in mind the human dimension of her pictures, and seeking the appropriate distance. This relation is difficult to achieve, because it must combine reserve, proximity and discretion but must also reveal the problems it deals with. For it is always a question of making complex situations visible, perceivable, and even sometimes obvious.”
(Christian Caujolle).

Her works are published by international press titles such as The New York Times, Internazionale, Esquire, Sunday Times Magazine, Elle, Jeune Afrique, Io Donna. She received in 2009 the Amilcare Ponchielli Grin Award for "Umumalayika", the Canon Photojournalist's Woman's Award for "My name is Filda Adoch" in 2010, and the 2012 FNAC grant for « Vietnam, Children of the Plateau ». Her series "Gulu Real Art Studio" was published by Steidl in 2013 andexhibited at the Walther Collection Project Space in New York in 2013, at Paris Photo, Unseen Fair and the Rencontres d'Arles in 2014, at the Milano Triennale in 2016, and entered the Artur Walther Collection as well as the Donata Pizzi Collection.


  Travelling : Paris, France

Portfolio

Series

On board the Aquarius (2018)

The migratory line Libya – Italy is the most lethal one in the world, 3% of deaths in 2016. Over than 180.000 refugees have reached the Italian coasts, leaving behind them around 4500 persons left who lost their life trying to get to it. Since its commissioning in February 2016 by SOS Méditerranée, the Aquarius saved 23.687 lives. The ship is pacing up and down the Libyan coasts from Italy. They do not delay to starts shifts on guard watching any craft that might need to be rescued. SOS Méditerranée has answered to the urgent need to undertake rescue operations of men, women and children leaving Libya to Europe hoping a better life. To that end, the association has gathered private...

Wana Watiti - Early marriages in the Comoros (2015)

In the Comoros Archipelagos, the Family Code stipulates since 2005 that the legal marriage age is 18, but Comorans are still bounded to a conservative and patriarchal tradition according to which a girl can’t date a boy without exposing herself to a dishonour that can only be washed away by marriage. Then, a lot of Comoran girls are maried at the age of 11, 12 or 13 years old, only because they chatted with boys at school. Those early marriages have disastrous consequences for childre: educational and health problems, domestic violence, early pregnancy, poverty...

Gulu Real Art Studio (2014)

A series of portraits found in the trash bin of the “Gulu Real Art Studio,” the oldest photographic studio in Gulu, Northern Uganda. The studio only has a machine that makes four ID images at a time, a number that most clients cannot afford, so the photographer takes single analog pictures, punches out the head with a special device, and discards the rest. In these faceless prints, one’s focus shifts to the subjects individual posture and clothing, forming a typological portrayal of a community. Martina Bacigalupo also interviewed clients of Gulu, and their stories, many deeply moving, describe the political, economic, and social conditions common to contemporary East Africa.

Ishaka: “Do it with your own hands (2014)

They are young, they are women, and these are the reasons why they have all, in a way or another, been submitted to violence from their village or close relations. “In Burundi, a woman has to suffer where she settled,” Venerande Namaganda says. This young Burundian had to undergo deception and theft from the people she was working with. Like her, a lot of women in Burundi are tied up to their husbands or their village because they have no job and are completely dependents. The Ishaka project offers micro credit to these women, so that they do not have to stay with a husband or a family who mistreat them. With Ishaka, they realize that they do not need men to earn money. Arlette...

Burundi, Places of Memory (2012)

Martina Macigalupo and Iwacu journalist Roland Rugero have travelled during several month throughout Burundi’s places of memory. Places charged with traumatising memories, often hidden or not talked about in public. Places where massacres, coup d’état and civil war have happened. Bacigalupo and Rugero are taking us along a journey in the past, where the knowledge of the country’s history will hopefully bring a better understanding of the present and the reconsidering of some certainties. What is an “ethnic conflict” ? Where does it come from ? And can one get out of this spiral of violence ? This body of work comes together with a reflexion on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,...

Vietnam, Children of the Plateau (2012)

In developing countries, diseases linked to pregnancy and birth delivery are the second cause of mortality (after HIV) for adult women. 99% of women whose death is caused by birth complications, live in developing countries. Maternal health is still one of the fields in which the gap between rich and poor is the widest. When it doesn’t lead to the mother’s death, lack of care during pregnancy and delivery often affects the child: in the world, each year, 8 million children are born with congenital malformation, 95% of them in developing countries. According to the WHO, 70% of these malformations could be avoided or cured. Vietnam is one of the 10 countries in the world that achieved the...

My name is Filda Adoch (2012)

The war between the Ugandan Army and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has been waged for more than twenty years. It has been described as the world's worst forgotten humanitarian crisis and is now before the International Criminal Court for LRA massacres of civilians. My name is Filda Adoch reports on the everyday life of a woman in the Gulu district, and shows the suffering the people of North Uganda. It is also the story of silent and extraordinary resistance. Canon Female Photojournalist Award Presented by the French Association of Female Journalists (AFJ)

Burundi, Children of Buterere (2012)

In the Buterere district of Bujumbura, children survive by rummaging through garbage to find food and bits and pieces they can sell in order to help support their family. Because it is less populated than other places, Buterere has been - for a very long time - used as a dumping ground by the surrounding villages. With no real waste management program, locals have been throwing their rubbish here. And nowadays, the poorest inhabitants survive thanks to this rubbish dump. Other kids, most of them no older than 10, work in the local brickyards. They can work up to 12 hours a day and will be paid 1500 Burundian Francs (1,2 $). But really, they all - Emelyne, Jadine, Tama or Audrick...

Wanawake, Being a woman in Congo (2011)

Every minute in the world a woman dies of childbirth. 99% of these women live in developing countries. More than half of them live in sub-Saharan Africa. For every maternal death, 20 women suffer pregnancy-related injuries, infections or diseases and, in some case, long term disabilities. The majority of maternal deaths and disabilities can be prevented through access to basic health-care services during pregnancy and delivery. The more affected are women living in poverty, who lack the decision-making power and the financial resources to access basic health care. The lack of progress in reducing maternal mortality highlights the low price placed on the lives of these women and...

Somalia, Mogadishu (2011)

“On the 06th of August 2011, Islamist militia Al-Shabaab retreat Mogadishu, living a city wounded by two decades of civil war. Inhabitants who are still scared by snipers desert several districts. And IDP camps, where hundred of people get to every day in order to avoid the starvation which lay the country waste, are spread out in the whole city. TGF forces (Transitional Government), which had to protect the population, are sometimes responsible of serious breakings of human rights in the IDP camps, and AMISON (African Union peace forces) can’t face the country’s issues. People are trapped between an incompetent power and an armed group which block the humanitarian aid necessary to...

Umumalayika / Angel, Burundi (2010)

Mother and daughter, two Burundian women face disability together. In Bujumbura, capital of Burundi, everyday is a struggle for Francine. After her husband died, her brother-in-law punished her by the most dreadful and indelible way, cutting her two forearms. Now deeply disabled, she needs assistance for each of everyday life’s tasks ; necessary activities such as feeding and washing herself became difficult. This tragic event also meant the loss of her autonomy. This Burundian woman lives away from her young daughter Bella, who studies in the South of the country, far from the capital. They sometimes meet during holidays and take care of each other. With a generous look, full of...

Handicap, Burundi (2010)

Causes of disability in the world are numerous and often linked to extreme poverty. To war casualties like people with amputations, one must add leprosy, poliomyelitis and diabetes. Pregnancy and delivery conditions increase the risk of child mortality. AIDS and car accidents add to the list. According to W.H.O., around 10 per cent of the world's population, or 650 million people, live with a disability, 80% of them in developing countries. In their own society, they are invisible citizens. Living their life hidden, cloistered, millions of disabled people don't get their basic human rights respected. Disability and poverty increase each other. To break this vicious circle,...

The Backyard Women, Burundi (2010)

According to a study mentioned by the National Program for Reproductive Health and the United Nations Population Fund in 2005, an estimated 1000 new cases of obstetric fistula are reported annually in Burundi, averaging three instances for every 1000 births in this African nation. The obstetric fistula is a lesion responsible for the permanent and uncontrollable flow of urine or the excretion of fecal matter from the vagina. It is often a complication from a long and difficult childbirth with a prolonged blockage of the the fetal head in the lower genital tract. It is more common in cases of unassisted labor. More than 80 % of women with fistula are thrown out by their husbands. The...

Fiore del Mio Pericolo (Pianissimo, Parte Seconda) (2009)

The days of work with dancer and choreographer Virgilio Sieni and the children have been inspired, unconsciously, by the idea of “trace”. The dance – as Virgilio says – the movement through which we escape daily life - a series of superfluous movements, which don’t follow a “utility” but translate an inner feeling. We visited many places and at the end the place was one, the inner one. It has been a pleasure to work with Virgilio and the children. There has never been a choreography nor a script. There have been suggestions, ideas, reactions. There have been giggles and questions. Then we would all go behind the camera and watch the children react freely to what was around...

Pianissimo, Italy (2006)

The perception of the self and of things around is for blind people very physical. In the process of recognition sight doesn’t participate and the other senses re-born. Hands are eyes. Surfaces, odours, sounds, are colours. In a time where the perception of the human being is mostly aesthetical I go to the places where the self evolves and grows in its inside and in the tactile experience of the other. Pianissimo is an inward journey. Because it’s world far from noise and external things, and because I have tried to approach without invading, but silently partaking. Pianissimo, in fact.

Books

Gulu Real Art Studio

This book shows a series of portraits found in the trash bin of the “Gulu Real Art Studio,” the oldest photographic studio in Gulu, Northern Uganda. The studio only has a machine that makes four ID images at a time, a number that most clients cannot afford, so the photographer takes single analog pictures, punches out the head with a special device, and discards the rest. In these faceless prints, one’s focus shifts to the subjects individual posture and clothing, forming a typological portrayal of a community. Martina Bacigalupo also interviewed clients of Gulu, and their stories, many deeply moving, describe the political, economic, and social conditions common to contemporary East Africa.
Text by: Robert Shore

Publisher: Steidl / The Walther Collection (2013)
112 pages
Size: 24x18 cms  

Fiore del Mio Pericolo


Text by: Virgilio Sieni et Franca D'Agostini

Publisher: Maschietto Editore (2009)

Awards


    2012 - Bourse FNAC d'aide à la création

    2010 - CANON Female Photojournalist Award (For her planned report : Uganda : The resistance of the forgotten)

Exhibitions



Woman look, Diane Arbus to Letizia Battaglia, The Passion and courage (Venise)
From 2015-09-11 to 2015-12-08

Martina Bacigalupo with her series Hito participates in the collective exhibition \"Woman look, Diane Arbusto Letizia Battaglia, The Passion and courage\" in Venice.

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Gulu Real Art Studio (Savignano sul Rubicone)
From 2015-09-11 to 2015-09-13

A series of portraits found in the trash bin of the “Gulu Real Art Studio,” the oldest photographic studio in Gulu, Northern Uganda. The studio only has a machine that makes four ID images at a time, a number that most clients cannot afford, so the photographer takes single analog pictures, punches out the head with a special device, and discards the rest. In these faceless prints, one’s focus shifts to the subjects individual posture and clothing, forming a typological portrayal of a community. Martina Bacigalupo also interviewed clients of Gulu, and their stories, many deeply moving,...

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Gulu Real Art Studio (Vichy)
From 2014-06-13 to 2014-08-31

A series of portraits found in the trash bin of the “Gulu Real Art Studio,” the oldest photographic studio in Gulu, Northern Uganda. The studio only has a machine that makes four ID images at a time, a number that most clients cannot afford, so the photographer takes single analog pictures, punches out the head with a special device, and discards the rest. In these faceless prints, one’s focus shifts to the subjects individual posture and clothing, forming a typological portrayal of a community. Martina Bacigalupo also interviewed clients of Gulu, and their stories, many deeply moving,...

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Gulu Real Art Studio (New York)
From 2013-09-20 to 2014-02-08

Gulu Real Art Studio is an installation of 90 studio portraits collected by the photojournalist Martina Bacigalupo from the Gulu Real Art Studio in GUlu, Uganda. Edited from hundreds of discarded, faceless images - the faces were originally cut out for standardized ID photos - the exhibition represents a typological cross-section of Gulu\'s society today, a city subjected to violent conflicts over several decades. Vivid and diverses, the distinctions of clothing and pose in each image reveal markers of self-definition, illustrating the compelling story of one East African community and the...

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Être femme dans les Pays du Sud (Bordeaux)
From 2012-10-15 to 2012-11-28

A l’occasion du festival « Visa pour l’Image » de Perpignan, la Fnac organise une exposition de photographies exclusives de Martina Bacigalupo, lauréate de la « Bourse Fnac 2011 » d’aide à la création. La bourse Fnac, initiée en septembre 2010 pour soutenir les photojournalistes, lui a permis de finaliser son projet sur la santé maternelle dans les pays du Sud qui avait touché le jury en 2011 pour son réalisme poignant.\r\rLes maladies liées à la grossesse et à l’accouchement constituent la deuxième cause de mortalité dans les pays de l’hémisphère sud. Plusieurs facteurs, dont l’extrême...

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Être femme dans les Pays du Sud (Paris)
From 2012-08-27 to 2012-10-11

A l’occasion du festival « Visa pour l’Image » de Perpignan, la Fnac organise une exposition de photographies exclusives de Martina Bacigalupo, lauréate de la « Bourse Fnac 2011 » d’aide à la création. La bourse Fnac, initiée en septembre 2010 pour soutenir les photojournalistes, lui a permis de finaliser son projet sur la santé maternelle dans les pays du Sud qui avait touché le jury en 2011 pour son réalisme poignant.\r\rLes maladies liées à la grossesse et à l’accouchement constituent la deuxième cause de mortalité dans les pays de l’hémisphère sud. Plusieurs facteurs, dont l’extrême...

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Lieux de mémoires (Bujumbura)
From 2012-06-14 to 2012-07-07


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My name is Filda Adoch (Bastia)
From 2012-06-14 to 2012-07-13

The war between the Ugandan Army and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has been waged for more than twenty years. It has been described as the world's worst forgotten humanitarian crisis and is now before the International Criminal Court for LRA massacres of civilians.\r\rMy name is Filda Adoch reports on the everyday life of a woman in the Gulu district, and shows the suffering the people of North Uganda. It is also the story of silent and extraordinary resistance.

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Umumalayika - Angel (SAINT-BERTRAND-DE-COMMINGES)
From 2012-06-01 to 2012-09-30

Mother and daughter, two Burundian women face disability together.\r\rIn Bujumbura, capital of Burundi, everyday is a struggle for Francine. After her husband died, her brother-in-law punished her by the most dreadful and indelible way, cutting her two forearms. Now deeply disabled, she needs assistance for each of everyday life’s tasks ; necessary activities such as feeding and washing herself became difficult. This tragic event also meant the loss of her autonomy.\r\rThis Burundian woman lives away from her young daughter Bella, who studies in the South of the country, far from the capital....

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My name is Filda Adoch (Barcelona)
From 2012-02-29 to 2012-05-28

The war between the Ugandan Army and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has been waged for more than twenty years. It has been described as the world's worst forgotten humanitarian crisis and is now before the International Criminal Court for LRA massacres of civilians.\r\rMy name is Filda Adoch reports on the everyday life of a woman in the Gulu district, and shows the suffering the people of North Uganda. It is also the story of silent and extraordinary resistance.

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My name is Filda Adoch (Perpignan)
From 2011-08-27 to 2011-09-11

Canon Female Photojournalist Award 2010\rPresented by the French Association of Female Journalists (AFJ - Association des Femmes Journalistes) in partnership with Le Figaro Magazine. The war between the Ugandan Army and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has been waged for more than twenty years. It has been described as the world's worst forgotten humanitarian crisis and is now before the International Criminal Court for LRA massacres of civilians. My name is Filda Adoch reports on the everyday life of a woman in the Gulu district, and shows the suffering the people of North Uganda. It is...

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