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The story I want to tell is about my land, Sicily, the effects of Mafia in our territory, the people that fight against it on the front line and the context in which Mafia has grown and rooted its identity.
The Sicilian reality is a ‘pre modern’ one, rooted within the family system and characterized by an accommodating behavior toward the corrupted system, strongly based on nepotism as opposed to a healthier meritocracy. Commonly diffused is the lack of respect towards the law and its representatives. The resulting scenario is, in fact, one of an orphaned society abandoned to its ill-omened destiny of relentless decadence. Therefore, the aim of this photographic essay is to capture this backdrop of decay.
Mafia and corruption have destroyed our most beautiful coasts that once were described by artists and writers as a paradise of natural, artistic and archaeological beauty. Cosa Nostra has worn out our economic system by killing market competition through intimidations and a thick network of corruption, and by imposing extortion to 95% of the region’s business, Mafia holds an even stronger economical control of the territory. The price paid by those who rebelled against this oppression has been reported by blood stained chronicles on newspapers and media.
After many years of pondering on the idea of working on such project I recently felt the urge to photographically deliver my wide perspective on the Mafia phenomenon, in a moment in time where Italy is living its worst political and social crisis since the Fascist era.
This is a long-term project on which I wish to work for several months to come. Any comments or suggestions are more than welcome.
This Essay has been published on the Financial Times Weekend Magazine on July 18th 2009.
I was born in Sicily, Palermo where I lived until I turned twenty and decided to move away from Italy. I have always been in love with photojournalism since an early age.
Now I am 34 and photojournalism is what I do for living. I take photos because i have an urge to communicate my views about our time and to show people that what I have had the privilege to witness first hand.
The themes that interest me most are related to society undergoing transitions, identity and migrations. I believe I have grown together with photography both professionally and on a personal level. I have traveled a few countries and met all kinds of people, rich and poor alike, criminals and judges, academics and musicians, interesting people and ugly characters. All of them are part of who I am now.
They gave me the eyes to see and the ears to listen their stories and my deepest self, so photography became for me an neverending journey that I am enjoying as much as I enjoy my life. News about my previous essays, publications, exhibitions and other stuff can be found on my website.
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Many thanks… david alan harvey