Alessandro Penso studied clinical psychology at Rome's La Sapienza University. In 2007, he received a scholarship to study photojournalism at the "Scuola Romana di Fotografia".
Since completing his studies, his work has won several awards, including the PDN Photo Student Award, the PDN Photo Annual Award, Px3, the Project Launch Award in Santa Fe 2011, and the Terry O' Neill TAG Award 2012.
Alessandro is deeply committed to social issues, and in recent years he has been focusing on the issue of immigration in the Mediterranean. During this time, he has produced work on detention centres in Malta, the situation of migrant workers in the agricultural sector in the south of Italy, and young people stuck in limbo in Greece.
Motivated by the desire to raise awareness of situations of injustice at Europe's margins, Alessandro intends to continue working on this issue in the months and years to come. Alessandro is also keenly aware that the difficult social and economic conditions in Mediterranean countries are providing an outlet for the phenomena of cultural closure, xenophobia and violence, which represent, for migrants, an insurmountable obstacle to their enjoyment of even the most basic human rights.
In 2012, he witnessed a brutal attack on a group of migrants in Corinth, Greece, in which one young man, Mostafa, was hit by a car. This experience has further motivated Alessandro to continue his work on this issue, also in an effort to raise awareness of and to help combat xenophobia and race-related violence. He hopes his work will also help fight the dehumanization and stereotyping of migrants which can take place in public discussion, sometimes for political gain.
Alessandro's work has appeared in numerous publications.
More than one million immigrants (many adolescents or barely over 18) are scrambling to stay alive in Greece — kids who have not been able to experience their youth.
In addition to the six top winners, 25 remarkable international photographers have garnered special praise by the jury this year.