Massimo Vitali (Italian, b.1944) is best known for his monumental color photographs of beaches, pools, and leisure scenes, often taken from removed vantage points, adapting the historical practice of landscape painting and figural studies to the photographic lens. Born in Como, Vitali studied photography in the 1960s at the London College of Printing, and pursued a career in photojournalism in the 1970s for several European magazines, among other publications. In the 1980s, he began working with cinematography for television and film, before focusing on photography for purely artistic purposes.
He began his series of beaches in the mid-1990s, later expanding his scenes to include pools, ski resorts, discotheques, piazzas, and other tourist and leisure sites around the world. In his richly colored, detailed works, Vitali achieves a balance between interpersonal narratives and the natural world, in images capturing human activity amidst panoramic views of landscapes. His work focuses on the voyeuristic capacities of photography, examining the anonymous, detached nature of urban life in the interactions between his subjects, seen at a distance by the viewer. Vitali’s work is held in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, among other institutions. He currently lives and works in Berlin and in Lucca, Italy.