Ornella Mazzola is a photographer based in Palermo, Sicily. She studied at the University La Sapienza of Rome Cinema-documentary, "Visual Anthropology". Degree subject is Visual Anthropology, with a thesis developed with the documentary-director Vittorio De Seta.

She started to explore the world of photography, naturally, from the visual research to socio-anthropological aspect inherent in it. She carries out different kinds of projects: personal research, social photography, intimate stories. Her stories are often focused on Southern Italy and the female universe. She has participated in several solo and group exhibitions, project and publications. Among the various experiences, she is finalist of Portrait of humanity 2023 by British Journal of Photography, she is finalist of LensCulture Portrait Awards 2019, Marco Pesaresi 2020, Documentary family Award 2021. She is among the winners of OpenWalls 2021 by The British Journal of Photography In 2020 she is winner of the competition promoted for the anthological exhibition of the photojournalist Letizia Battaglia in Milan (Palazzo Reale). 







Palm* Photo Prize 2024, Finalist. Group Exhibition at Melkweg Expo Gallery, Amsterdam; 

Portrait of Humanity 2023 British Journal of Photography, Finalist. (Book Portrait of Humanity vol.5); 

Street Sans Frontières, Group Exhibition (Imagenation Paris) during Paris Photo days at Galerie Joseph Le Palais, Paris (2023); 

She is part of the book FAMILIAR/STRANGER published by ephemere Book&Gallery Tokyo (2024);

Half the skyStreet photography from women, published by ephemere Book&Gallery Tokyo. The book is presented at Tokyo Art Fair 2023, Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo;

She is among the winning of OpenWalls 2021 Arles by British Journal of Photograph. Group Exhibition at Galerie Huit Arles during Les Rencontres d'Arles

She is winner of the competition promoted by Civita Mostre for the Letizia Battaglia's retrospective at Palazzo Reale in Milan. Jury composed by Letizia Battaglia, Denis Curti (2020); 

LensCulture Portrait Award 2019, Finalist; Premio Marco Pesaresi 2020, Finalist (Congo);  Documentary family Awards, Finalist (2021);  Urban photo Awards 2021, Finalist (Book Urban photo Awards 2021); 

She is part of the editorial/exhibition project "Palermo Bellissima" curated by Letizia Battaglia for the Centro Internazionale di Fotografia di Palermo 2020;

She is part of  COVISIONI:, supported by LUZ Agency. 40 Photograpers described Italy during the pandemic period. The project becomes a published book (2021); COVISIONI is exhibited at SIFEST, Grenze Arsenali fotografici,  virtual Exhibition for PhMuseum;

"Females" selected by IMP Festival -International Month of Photojournalism- (Italy photo Award) for Italian Collection 2020; selected by the Photo editor Manila Camarini D-Repubblica;

She is among the authors of Mediterraneo Fotografia 2020;

"Females" exhibited at InTrance Festival in Galatina (Puglia), International Photography Festival (2021);

Festival Marenostrum, exhibition at the Fondazione Sant' Elia Palermo (catalogue 2022);

She is is part of the issue of MM and Words (London) dedicated to Sicily, "Trinacria" and Presented at Paris Photo 2023;

Personal exhibition "Females" at the Crypt of Chiesa Santa Maria del Piliere, Palermo. (Palermo Capital of Culture 2018);

Personal  exhibition "Females" with Effe22photo for "Fotografia d'Autore" exhibition (Padua 2023);

She is among the European photographers documenting IncluCities, a project created by the European Community, led by CCRE and financed by AMIF (2022);

Group Exhibition "égliselab 18 explorazioni" curated by Photo editor Benedetta Donato (Palermo Capital of culture 2018);

"Females" among the winners of Slideluck Napoli 2017, exhibited at Magazzini Fotografici di Napoli (2017);

"Females" exhibited at Officine Fotografiche di Roma for Female in march (2018);

“Females” exhibited at Magazzini Fotografici di Napoli for European Portrait (2017);

Personal  exhibition “Parada” promoted and hosted by CISS, La Casa della Cooperazione of Palermo (2017);

"Parada" finalist for "Diritti negati". The jury, chaired by Tano D'amico, awards her a special mention (2017);

"Females" at Fotoleggendo, International Photography Festival in Rome (Officine Fotografiche, 2015);

Fotografia Europera Reggio Emilia off  2014  / 2015 with "Palermo Dentro" and "The sun is still high". An image of this work is Commended image at the Sony World Photography Awards 2015;

She wins a scholarship at the Scuola Romana di Fotografia (2010);






Since 2014 she has been documenting various non-profit organizations: Parada Onlus Bucharest in Romania, S. Camillo Center for disabled people in Tbilisi (Caucasus), Shoot4change, S.Chiara Migrant Childhood Center in Palermo, Il Grande Cocomero in Rome, Association of Islamic Women of Palermo.

She carries out photography laboratories with the photojournalist Andrea Petrosino and Baco About Photographs. The laboratories are for children-adolescents who live complex social contexts. The first laboratory "Wendy" It has been realized in the Kalsa, neighborhood of Palermo. The project was supported and hosted by the “Palazzo Butera Foundation” (Palermo), by the non-profit organization “WeYolk” and curated by Valentina Bruschi and Ferdinando Foresta (2022); The second laboratory "Wendy" It has been realized at "WeYolk" Palermo (2023);

She is part of  TheLuupe NY (as freelance contributor)

Freelance photographer




Publications: L'Oeil de la Photographie, GUP Magazine, ARTPIL, Discarded Magazine, PHMuseum, Perimetro, The Mammoth Reflex, femLENS, Musa Fotografia, Kiosk der Demokratie, Domus, Photo-Letter; Witness Journal, SkyArte, mm and words Magazine (London), Exibart, Artribune