10 April 2020

Gomorrah girl

Valerio Spada

Valerio Spada’s award-winning photobook about a murder in Naples, Italy is a visual rumination about adolescence, choices and chances in a land of Camorra (the name of the Mafia in Naples).

Gomorrah girl book cover

Edition of 750
40 pages + 40 pages
Color offset, custom side-stapled red
Paperback, 8.9 x 13.1 in + 9.4 x 8.3 in
Cross Editions
November 2011
ISBN 978-2-9536712-1-6

Inside book

On March 27, 2004, Annalisa Durante, at the age of 14, was killed in Forcella, a Naples area under the Giuliano clan’s dominance. Annalisa and two of her friends were in front of her father’s small store, leaning on a car, talking with Salvatore Giuliano, a young Camorra boss, then 22.

Everything that happens next will take only seconds but will change many lives forever.

Two killers on a motorcycle pop out of a side street and open fire. Their aim is to kill Guiliano, who hides behind the car and starts to shoot back at them. The two friends of Annalisa find a getaway on the right side in a small street, while Annalisa runs in the opposite direction, where the killers are driving away. One of the three bullets fired by Giuliano hits Annalisa in the head, immediately she falls lifeless to the ground. Salvatore Giuliano was charged for homicide and is serving 24 years in prison. This photographic journey starts with Annalisa’s father, Giovanni Durante, who still works in the same store in Forcella. Since the day she was murdered, he brings breakfast with milk at 9 every morning to his daughter’s grave. Annalisa was buried along with her cell phone, which was her father’s wish, since she used to call him five times per day, every day. There is a magnificent strength in Giovanni Durante’s will to stay in Forcella, trying to right the wrongs of one of the most dangerous areas in Naples. A similar determination can be found in the teachers at the Liceo Elsa Morante, in the Scampia neighborhood, in their daily effort to educate and keep the girls of Scampia off the streets and from a destiny that seems to have been written long before these girls were born.

Generations of wrong choices and mistakes have ripped families and whole communities in this region apart. In this book there are portraits of girls whose destinies can still change, if not the destiny of the area in which they are growing up. Annalisa was one of them. She kept a diary, in which she wrote that Naples was becoming too dangerous to live in and how she was dreaming to escape, to live far away from Forcella.

In general, Gomorrah Girl shows the problems of becoming a woman in a dangerous, crime ridden area.

Adolescence is almost denied. At nine years old they dance, move and make themselves up like TV personalities, and dream to become one of them. At 13 or 14, very often, they become mothers, skipping the adolescence which is lived fully everywhere else in Italy. The notorious neighborhood of Scampia is considered one of the most dangerous in Italy for its central position in one of the highest drug trafficking and dealing in Europe, where Camorra business has its core and main income by selling drugs of excellent quality at the lowest price. Annalisa’s homicide evidence, like the bullet extracted from her skull, are all points that, once connected, become a large and unique picture of the desolation which is equal only to the hope, not only for Naples, but maybe for all of today’s Italy.

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