Photography as a tool for fine art with Massimo Leardini

Italian photographer Massimo Leardini has been living and working in Norway since 1987. Now one of the most respected and inspirational photographers in Scandinavia, we had to meet the creative mind behind this incredible work!

Why photography?

It’s something I have to do, a perfect way of expressing myself, and a great way to see the world, and the people you meet along the way. You make it to your own – to create your own world.

What role does the photographer have in society?

The bigger picture is that it’s greatly important to document society, and the world, because no matter what we do in photography, we document our time. Besides being a tool for recording personal moments, photography has become an extraordinary tool for fine art.

What themes do you pursue?

Portraits, landscapes, and nudes in Scandinavian nature.

Who inspires your work?

I’ve always been attracted and inspired by photographers and filmmakers that have their own voice. Of course the big masters in photography like AvedonNewtonPenn, and more contemporary photographers like Paolo RoversiFilmmakers would be Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergmann.

What makes a memorable photograph?

Memorable can be when something magic happens and you get it on film, or magic happens and you see it when you look through the images afterwards. It could be something you would like to photograph and you achieve that moment.

What do you want viewers to take away from your work?

I think my viewer can add or take away what they want from my images, but I always hope that I can move them in a way, make them think or feel something.

What motivates you to keep taking pictures?

Curiosity to see where it will take me in the future, curiosity about what I can achieve and what I can experience photographing all the time.

What are some of your favourite photography books?

I am a bookaholic 🙂 I love photo books and there are so many books I love! They are a form of inspiration in life because of all the good feelings you get looking at them.

When you shoot, how much in instinctual and how much is planned?

Of course, you have a plan for a shoot, choosing location, models, having a certain idea of what I want to do. But the good pictures come from working instinctually, just follow what is happening during a shoot, have a good dialogue with the person you shoot, and wait for that magic happen. 

How has social media played a role in your work?

Social media has given photographers the possibility to reach a large audience. It’s good for promoting my books and my projects but for me, photography is still something organic, not virtual. Photography is a print on the wall, in a book, in a magazine.

What advice would you give yourself if you started in photography all over again?

I am very happy in the way my photography goes, so I really do not dare to think that I could do things differently. Of course with experience you always found out things and try to adjust, but it is a part of the game/life, you need to try, fail and do things all the time. Try to find your voice in photography. 

View more at and @massimo_leardini. Massimo’s new book launched last week at Offprint London Tate Modern and is now available for purchase on his website.

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