Leonardo Cairo at 15, entranced by the works of Robert Doisneau, Henry Cartier-Bresson, Willy Ronis, Eugene Atget and Brassai, elects to become a photographer. When 19, while attending the Architecture Faculty at the "Politecnico di Milano", begins his work as photo assistant to Gionni Ricci.
With a second hand Pentax starts shooting photos around the town, his first photos expose his interest in people, in jazz musicians and in a city where areas in harmony with nature contrast with areas that expose the speculative enterprises of Man, the most dangerous mammal on hearth.
These images, displayed in Milan at the "Gezzisti e altro, analogie o forse altro" exhibition, receive an encouraging welcome from press. Encouraged by this reception Cairo decides to become a full time photographer and begins a frenetic activity of collaboration with a multitude of magazines specializing in Interiors, Food and produces also a series of art catalogs.
In 2001, together with a few other artists is selected to represent the city of Milan at the celebrated "Premio Mecenate". The exhibition, being sponsored by "Gli amici della Scala", is in the famous La Scala Theatre in Milano. . In the foreword to the catalog of the "Premio Mecenate" the milanese critic Giorgio Taborelli had stated: "Leonardo Cairo is a great photographer who has surprised us with his dry pictures of Salvador, Brazil. They successfully demonstrate his craftsmanship. His attention to life is without prejudice and his shots are analytical and free from useless clamor..." Since 2004 he began working with advertising agencies that have noted his work in magazines: he shoots interesting photos for Grana Padano " Taglio Sartoriale " (Tailor-made Cut 2008) and takes pictures for other food and furniture companies.
Since 2009 he lives between Brazil and Italy. Besides continuing to photograph also deals with manual therapies, alternative medicines. In 2010 realized the photos of creative dishes prepared by chef Fabrizio Ferrari published in "Mille e un panettone". This book won the Gourmand World Cookbooks Awards in the category "Best single subject cookbook".