Capturing Norway:
The photography of Massimo Leardini

Nordic imagery.  Steeped in classical tradition and illuminating the purity and complexity of the Scandinavian landscape and its people. Starkly captured by Leardini and his lens.

"I am originally from Cattolica, in the Italian province of Rimini. I moved to Norway in 1987, where I live today with my wife and two children.  I love photography, especially in books. I think books are a great medium for photography, and a very intimate one at that. My feelings about photography grew intensely when I moved to Norway. It is the right place to inspire my work and form my style. I work with editorial and commercial clients and have published five books of my own work.

I remember being very interested in art, architecture and design, since I was a kid. However, I only started with photography professionally when I was almost 30. Moving to Scandinavia, I discovered that this is a very inspiring place to capture images. It all started with my long trips into the woods, discovering the silence and the magical light in nature, and then I started to bring people with me to take the photographs. I feel very privileged to be able to make a living out of my photography.

My work includes nudity, fashion, and landscape. My photographs are always like portraits. I am especially interested in faces. I love faces that inspire me in my photography work. For me, photography is about seeing - when I shoot, I try to make my photographs show others what I see. I get very inspired by silent places and by light. Inspiration comes from the people I meet, the people I work with, the place I live, and the travel that I do. I work with fashion and portraits, which gives me the opportunity to meet interesting people - subjects for my photography. Quite often, I use black and white because I like the timeless quality that it gives to images.

My style reflects what I like to see, as well as my feelings.  It is probably a mix of melancholy and nostalgia, which I have picked up from my roots – I have loved the painter Modigliani since I was a child. I love the feeling of melancholy and nostalgia, mixed with the natural rawness from Scandinavian nature and the relationship people here have to nature. I take photographs as often as I can in nature. I do this in a simple way, very often with just myself and a model on the shoot. That is how my book Scandinavian was born - from my trips into the woods with my favourite models. I usually photograph them often, as it helps me to get closer to them, and to create much more intimate images.

Photography in Norway creates a very unique experience. My work is very much related to the Scandinavian life and nature, and the local way of thinking which is very raw and strong. What is particularly different here from doing photography elsewhere is the light. Especially during summer - I can shoot my photographs 24 hours a day."

Leardini’s favourite photography accessory (other than his camera) is light. He sees light as necessary for creating the mood of his works, and almost only uses natural daylight which he deems the best kind of light. Daylight helps him to get closer to the subject of the shoot, and also illuminates faces and bodies in a wonderful way. Silence adds a cherry on top of his cake for a more inspired shoot.

Leardindi's photography is available in fabulous first edition hardcover here.


Words: Sharman Tanny

Massimo Leardini