Mads Nissen


Documentary photographer Mads Nissen (b. 1979, Denmark)

For Mads Nissen photography is all about empathy – creating understanding, a closeness, an intimacy. He strives to build that connection while focusing on contemporary social issues such as inequality, human rights violations and our often destructive relationship with nature.

Mads graduated with distinction from The Danish School of Media and Journalism in 2007. After graduating he moved to Shanghai to document the human and social consequences of China’s historic economic rise. Since 2014 he has worked as a staff photographer at the Danish daily Politiken, a newspaper internationally praised for its strong commitment to visual journalism. In addition to Politiken, his images have been published in Time, Newsweek, CNN, National Geographic, The Guardian, Stern, Der Spiegel and many other publications.

He frequently gives lectures and workshop and has had solo-exhibitions across Europe and Latin America in such places as The Nobel Peace Center (Norway), The National Museum (Colombia), GAF (Germany) and Frederiksborg Slot (Denmark).

Twice has Mads Nissen’s work been awarded as The World Press Photo of the Year. In 2021 with image ‘The First Embrace’ taken during the covid-19 pandemic – and in 2015 with an intimate moment between the gay couple Jon and Alex in Russia. In 2021 he was named ‘Photographer of the Year’ for the fourth time in Denmark. He has also twice been shortlisted as ‘Photographer of the Year’ at the Pictures of the Year International Award (POYi).

Mads Nissen has published three photo books: ‘The Fallen’ (People’s Press), ‘AMAZONAS’ (Gyldendal) and most recently the award-winning ‘We are Indestructible’ (GOST Books). This book provides a glimpse of the multi-layered seams of Colombia’s past, present and future and is the culmination of many years of work in the war-torn country.

Mads Nissen is represented by Panos Pictures. And by Prospekt in Italy and Laif in Germany.