Matteo Bastianelli (b. 1985) is a freelance documentary photographer and filmmaker based in Rome, Italy. He is a National Geographic Magazine contributor and a member of Italy’s National Order of Journalists since 2009. Above all he works on personal and long-term projects related to social, environmental and human rights issues, with a keen interest in consequences of wars and contemporary issues affecting our society.

He spent almost five years working in the former Yugoslavia, mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, focusing on the theme of memory and identity. The result of this visual documentary work has been resealed as his first book and documentary film, “The Bosnian Identity”. In 2012, for his ongoing commitment and documentation on the legacy of the Bosnian war, he was nominated honorable member of the international team of experts for the “Institute for Research of Genocide” in Canada.

Bastianelli was a member of Reportage by Getty Images Emerging Talent till 2014. His photographic and film projects have been published and commissioned by a number of national and international magazines, such as Al Jazeera, Burn, CNN, Corriere della Sera, Der Spiegel, Discovery Channel Interactive, D- La Repubblica, El Pais, Internazionale, International New York Times, Lens – The New York Times, L’Espresso, L’Europeo, La Repubblica, La Stampa, MSNBC, National Geographic Magazine, Newsweek Japan, PDN, Super 8-La Repubblica, Stern, Sky News, TIME Lightbox, The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Voice of America, Washington Post, XL Semanal, among others. Since 2016 he has also been working on assignment for NGOs such as Amnesty International, AVSI, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, Human Rights Watch and International Committee of the Red Cross.

His projects have been shown in Belgium, Brazil, Estonia, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, The Netherlands and USA. He has received various awards for his work, among which PDN’s Photo Annual, Emerging Talent Award at Reportage by Getty Images, Canon Young Photographers’ Award, Honorable Mention from the NPPA- Best of photojournalism, finalist for the Burn Emerging Photographer Fund, Marco Bastianelli Prize for the Best First Book and “Vittorio de Seta” prize for the director of the best documentary film at BIF&ST- Bari International Film Festival 2013.

In 2013 he started working on “Souls of Syrians”, an ongoing project which stems from the concern to document the effects of war on the life of Syrian youth. “Souls of Syrians” received the Italian Doc Screenings Development Award for best documentary film in 2015, the AP32- American Photography Awards in 2016 and was a finalist at Luchetta Prize in 2017. 

New projects are under and away in his home country, Italy, where since 2016 he has been working on “Green gold”, which aims to highlight the dynamics linked to the Cannabis business in Europe and to analyze the effects of Prohibition. The project has been published as cover story of 2017 June’s issue of National Geographic Italia and along with an interview on National Geographic Magazine. “Green gold” was also screened on September 2017 during the International Festival of Photojournalism “Visa pour l’image” in Perpignan, France. 

In 2018 Bastianelli documented the world’s worst humanitarian disaster caused by the ongoing civil war in Yemen, focusing his attention on the resilience of civilians trapped in a life of violence and disease. His Yemen project appeared in the August 2018 issue of National Geographic Magazine and has been used worldwide by Doctors Without Borders in 2019 for advocacy campaigns to help and protect Yemeni civilians. His documentary film “Yemen Unveiled” was screened during the 2019 Human Rights Film Festival in Berlin, Germany and has been included in the Official Selection of the Health for All Film Festival 2020, organized by the World Health Organization in Geneva.

In 2019 he documented various issues affecting the Mexican society between the States of Guerrero, Puebla and Oaxaca for the AVSI Foundation, realizing the documentary film “Fortaleza, México”, screened at the 15th edition of the “Short Mexico” International Film Festival. In 2020, Matteo Bastianelli started documenting the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting quarantine on Rome’s community of homeless, migrants and refugees. His project proposal was selected and supported by the National Geographic Society’s Covid-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists. His project was also selected to participate in the “Inside the curve” book and exhibition, produced by National Geographic.


  • “Kidnap for Ransom Avoidance and Survival Training”, workshop by National Geographic, 2022.
  • “Bilder Nordic School of Photography”, workshop with Eugene Richards, 2011.
  • “Officine Fotografiche”, workshop with Christian Caujolle, 2011.
  • “Scuola Romana di Fotografia”, Master in reportage and photojournalism, 2007-09.
  • High school diploma, 2004.


Awards and recognitions

  • “Water Science Policy/Unesco” Prize, 2nd place 2023
  • Italian Sustainability Photo Award (ISPA), Finalist 2021
  • Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography, Honorable mention 2021
  • National Geographic Covid-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists, Recipient 2020
  • DIG Awards for Short Documentary, Finalist 2020
  • “Mani Tese” Award for Investigative Journalism, Finalist 2019
  • Abitare/Mufoco Grant, Finalist, 2017
  • Luchetta Prize, Finalist, 2017
  • FC Barcellona Photo Award, Finalist Prize, 2017
  • Nominated World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass 2017
  • AP32- American Photography Awards, Winner 2016
  • Tokyo International Photo Award, silver winner 2016
  • Life Framer Award, Honorary Winner 2016
  • 5th Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism, Multimedia Award Finalist 2016
  • Italian Doc Screenings Development Award for Best Documentary Film, Winner 2015
  • CineEco International Film Festival, Official Jury Honorable Mention 2015
  • CineEco International Film Festival, Youth Jury Honorable Mention 2015
  • Photocrati Fund, Finalist 2014
  • PixPalace-Visas ANI award, Shortlisted 2014
  • Nominated World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass 2013
  • Doc/it Professional Award, Finalist 2013
  • Emerging Talent Award, Reportage By Getty Images, Winner 2013
  • Marco Bastianelli Prize for the Best First Book, Winner 2013
  • Vittorio de Seta Prize for the Best Documentary Film at BIF&ST, Winner 2013
  • Nominated World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass 2012
  • IPA, Deeper perspective category, Honorable Mention 2012
  • Institute for Research Genocide, Honorary membership 2012
  • 3rd Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism, Multimedia Award Finalist 2012
  • Fotovisura Grant, Finalist 2012
  • Gomma Award, Shortlisted 2012
  • IPA, Feature Story category, Honorable Mention 2011
  • IPA, Environmental category, Honorable Mention 2011
  • IPA, People category, Honorable Mention 2011
  • NPPA-Best of photojournalism, Honorable Mention 2011
  • Multimedia Photojournalism Award (MEI), Honorable Mention 2011
  • Sodalitas Award for Social Journalism, Finalist 2011
  • Freedom to Create Prize, Highly Commended Artist 2011
  • Amilcare Ponchielli Award-GRIN, Shortlisted 2011
  • Connect Slide Show Contest, Finalist 2011
  • Canon Young Photographers Prize, Best project, Winner 2010
  • Emerging Photographer Fund- Magnum Foundation, Finalist 2010
  • JFF -Blur magazine, Winner 2010
  • PDNs Photo Annual, Winner 2010
  • Foiano Fotografia, Winner 2009
  • Fotografia-Roma, 2nd prize, 2009
  • Fotoleggendo, 3rd prize, 2009


Collective catalogues

  • FC Barcelona Photo Award, 2017
  • 5th Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism, 2016
  • Blacklie, Limes Images, 2014
  • 3rd Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism, 2012
  • Metropolis, Noorderlicht Photography Foundation, 2011
  • Voices of courages, Freedom to Create Prize, 2011
  • The Dreamers, Foiano Fotografia, 2010


COVER UK bosnian_cor2_Layout 1

The Bosnian Identity

ISBN: 978-88-86795-99-9
Author: Matteo Bastianelli
Graphic Design: Daniele Zendroni
Editing: Tiziana Faraoni
Preface: Gigi Riva
Pages 208
English Edition | cm. 18 x 24
118 B&W pictures
Released: October 2012


Exhibitions and screenings


2023Watershed United Nations 2023 Water Conference, New York, USA

2021 – Yemen Unveiled Castelnuovo Fotografia, Castelnuovo di Porto, Italy

2020 – Yemen Unveiled Health for All Film Festival, Geneva, Switzerland

2019 – Yemen Unveiled Human Rights Film Festival, Berlin, Germany

2018 – Maiora Premunt Fujifilm X Vision Tour. MAST, Bologna, Italy

2018 – Maiora Premunt Fujifilm X Vision Tour. SAL, Catania, Italy

2018 – Maiora Premunt Fujifilm X Vision Tour. Ex Dogana, Rome, Italy

2017 – Green Gold Screening at Visa Pour l’Image, Perpignan, France

2017 – Maiora Premunt Screening at Visa Pour l’Image, Perpignan, France

2017 – Bodyrebuilding FCBarcelona Photo Award. Museum Agbar de les Aigües, Spain

2016 – Souls of Syrians Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalist. Hannover, Germany

2015 – MaldiMare CineEco- International Environmental Film Festival. Seia, Portugal

2015 – MaldiMare PerSo- Perugia Social Film Festival. Perugia, Italy

2015 – MaldiMare Filmambiente International Film Festival. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2014 – The Bosnian Identity Crime and Punishment Film Festival. Istanbul, Turkey

2014 – MaldiMare Maxxi- National Museum of XXI Century Arts. Rome, Italy

2014 – MaldiMare BIF&ST, Bari International Film Festival, Italy

2014 – The Bosnian Identity Solo exhibiton, “Bepi Savioli” Gallery. Riccione, Italy

2014 – The Bosnian Identity Solo exhibiton, Porta Napoletana. Velletri, Italy

2014 – The Bosnian Identity Artemisio Theater. Velletri, Italy

2013 – The Bosnian Identity Cinema Verite, Iran Int Doc Film Festival. Teheran, Iran

2013 – The Bosnian Identity Tagliacozzoinfilm. Tagliacozzo, Italy

2013 – The Bosnian Identity Umbria World Fest. Foligno, Italy

2013 – The Bosnian Identity Roma 3 Film Festival, Palladium Theatre. Rome, Italy

2013 – The Bosnian Identity Cineteca di Rimini, Interazioni Festival. Rimini, Italy

2013 – The Bosnian Identity Bellaria Doc Film Festival. Bellaria Igea Marina, Italy

2013 – The Bosnian Identity Cinema Piccolo Apollo. Rome, Italy

2013 – The Bosnian Identity BIF&ST, Bari International Film Festival. Bari, Italy

2012 – The Bosnian Identity Fotoleggendo Photo Festival. Rome, Italy

2012 – A silent scream for life Bursa Photo Fest. Istanbul, Turkey

2012 – Volontariamente Cultural center Altinate San Gaetano, Padova, Italy

2012 – Volontariamente Collective exhibition. Bgallery. Rome, Italy

2012 – A silent scream for life Lumix Festival. Hannover, Germany

2012 – Volontariamente Festival Orvieto Fotografia. Orvieto, Italy

2012 – Home sweet homeless Solo exhibition, WSP photography. Rome, Italy

2012 – Volontariamente Collective exhibition, Casa Ildefonso Schuster. Milan, Italy

2011 – New European Romans Collective exhibition, Subway line A. Rome, Italy

2011 – The Bosnian Identity Noorderlicht photofestival. Groningen, The Netherlands

2011 – Back and forth Annenberg Theater, Palm Springs Art Museum. California, USA

2011 – The Bosnian Identity Canon Award, Fiera Milano City. Milan, Italy

2011 – The Bosnian Identity Canon Award, FORMA Foundation. Milan, Italy

2010 – The Bosnian Identity Collective exhibition. Foiano della Chiana, Italy

2010 – Castles made of playing-cards Collective exhibition. Abruzzo, Italy

2010 – The Bosnian Identity Collective exhibition. Atelier de visu, Marseille, France

2010 – Living quarters Chiostro degli Agostiniani. Bracciano, Italy

2010 – The Bosnian Identity Solo exhibition, Officine Fotografiche. Rome, Italy

2009 – Una foto per Collective exhibition, Officine fotografiche. Rome, Italy

2009 – Living quarters Collective exhibition, Casale de Merode. Rome, Italy

2009 – Home sweet homeless Scuola Romana di Fotografia. Rome, Italy

2009 – Home sweet homeless Collective exhibition. Avellino, Italy


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