Mads Nissen

Born in Denmark 1979.

“I was 19 years old when I realized that I wanted be a photographer. It was in the crowded streets of Mérida during a nine-month stay in Venezuela. I had bought an old camera from a friend but found myself not interested in the landscape or sunset. Instead, I was interested in the people, the poverty and the cracks in the surroundings. I knew then that by taking pictures I was able to combine my three major interests that I had since early on in my life.

Firstly, it was a way to fulfill my ambition to change the things in today’s world and society, which I felt was unjust and needed attention. Secondly, I was deeply interested in other people’s life and the world around me. Taking pictures became a way for me to open new doors and digest what I saw behind them. Lastly, I had always had a desire to express myself creatively. Being a photographer allowed me to make my own interpretation of what I saw; to raise questions and investigate rather than coming up with the exact answers.

Since then my work has mainly focused on contemporary issues and dilemmas such as overpopulation, poverty, human rights violations and man’s often-destructive relationship with nature.

Just after I graduated with a degree in photojournalism from the Danish School of Journalism in 2007 I moved to Shanghai to document the human and social consequences of China’s historical economic rise. After two years in China, I returned to Denmark where he worked for many years as staff photographer for the national newspaper Berlingske. Now I’m a staff-photographer of another national newspaper, Politiken, and much of my time is devoted to in-depth feature stories as well as international news.

Aside from Berlingske and Politiken, I have worked on my long-term personal project from the Amazon since 2006.”


Mads worked for clients such as Time, Newsweek, Stern, Spiegel, GEO, Russian Reporter, D La Repubblica, Sunday Times Magazine, MSF ect.

Mads has been awarded with World Press Photo – Picture of the Year 2015, Days Japan – International Photojournalism Award 2006-2007; POYi 2007; Danish Press Photo of the Year 2007 and 2010 (Best Feature Picture Story, Best Foreign Picture Story, Best Photo, Best News Picture, and Photographer of the Year); World Press Photo 2011, the Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation Grant 2011, the Palle Fogtdal Grant.

Photo Series