© Mattia Balsamini

Osservare, Restituire, Trasformare / Languages of commissioned photography with Mattia Balsamini

When: 6, 7 and 20 February 2021

Where: PhMuseum Lab, Bologna, Italy

Language: Italian

Full Scholarship: 1 (apply before 15 Dec)

Early Bird Fee: €270 (until 22 Dec)

Standard Fee: €350 (until 21 Jan)

In a glimpse

The course aims to analyze the framework and the methodologies behind a commissioned story. Mattia will speak about his career from assistant to photographer, bringing specific examples of how to research and self-commissioned projects can simultaneously be the fuel to find a personal style and the opportunity to convey a vision to potential clients.

About Mattia Balsamini

Born September 24th, 1987 in Pordenone, Italy. Moved to Los Angeles in 2008, he began his studies at the Brooks Institute of California with a specialization in advertising. In 2010 he worked at David LaChapelle's studio. In 2011, after obtaining a Bachelor's with honourable mention, he returned to Italy.

Since 2012 he has been teaching photography at the Interactive Media Master for Interior Design of the IUAV University of Venice. He focuses his attention on issues related to the territory of origin, the concept of home and work as a factor of the identity of the man. His images reveal an interest in people and their stories, the functionality of technology and the graphic elements of the ordinary. Mattia is currently represented by Contrasto.

His images have been exhibited at the Milan Triennale, the MAXXI, the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation, Villa Manin and the Italian Cultural Institute in San Francisco. He collaborates with newspapers and clients including Apple, Esquire, Fendi, Financial Times, Prada Foundation, GQ, GEO, Icon, Mercedes Benz, Nike, The New York Times, The Guardian, Vogue, Wallpaper*, WIRED.


The course will develop in three phases. In the first meeting, participants will be exploring the background that leads to the creation of a commissioned story for an editorial/corporate client or personal project that requires a similar visual narrative. By showing the parallels between some case studies assigned for magazines or corporate on one hand, and personal works or artist residencies on the other, the intention of the course is to recognize the possible workspace between these two realities.

In the second meeting Mattia will analyze his approach to work – in the treatment of subjects, objects, places, stories, both from a conceptual point of view, through the study of examples of past publications in history, and from a technical one, with a strong focus on the use of cameras and light sources of light. Case studies of works created by the author will be also examined by proposing and testing practical techniques through the use of equipment normally used in the field.

To separate the first meetings from the final meeting, there will be two weeks in which participants will be asked to produce a short self-commissioned work starting from a set of guidelines proposed by the author. This process will thus make it possible to put into practice the approach to both content and technical research learned previously. The material produced by each of the participants will then be analyzed and discussed in the final meeting where together with Mattia we will work on an editing proposal.

At the end of the course Mattia will give one of the participants the opportunity to collaborate as an assistant for a day on the set of a commissioned project in the course of 2021.

Who should attend this workshop

You will participate in a theoretical-practical path divided into 3 meetings where we will analyze the background and the methodologies underlying a commissioned project. You will be invited to reflect on the commercial production methodology and therefore a good knowledge of the basic photographic technique is recommended.

What do you need to bring

Take your digital camera and your computer with you. While for the last meeting where we will work on editing, you will be invited to print in advance the photos taken during the mini commissioned. You can print in A5 or smaller format, bearing in mind that high-quality printing is not required. Alternatively, you can create a PDF organized with the proposed sequence of images, together with a folder at the bottom with the largest selection.

Travel and accommodation

In case you come to visit us from outside Bologna, you will have to manage your travel and search for your accommodation independently as they are not included in the fee of the course. Upon request, our team will be happy to offer you tips and advice on where to stay and how to enjoy your time here in Bologna.

About the PhMuseum Lab and the city of Bologna

PhMuseum Lab is the first physical space of PhMuseum. It is based in Cirenaica, a beautiful urban neighbourhood just outside the historic centre of Bologna. During the course, you will also be able to enjoy the vibrant scene offered by the city and the peculiar personality of the neighbourhood. You will also have access to our library of photo books, water and snacks and at the same time take a look behind the scenes of the PhMuseum.


How can I book my seat and pay?

You can reserve your seat by emailing us at info@phmuseumlab.com. We will send you payment instructions.

Until when can I reserve my place in the course?

You have until December 22 to take advantage of the discounted price, while we will accept registrations until January 21.

Is there the possibility of receiving financial aid?

If you wish to be considered for 1 total scholarship, please apply by December 15, making sure to submit a motivational paragraph explaining why you will benefit from participating in the program. If you book your seat by December 22 you can still take advantage of a discount and pay € 270 instead of € 350.

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