Like the Tide | By Chiara Negrello

In Italy, gender equity in the 21st century remains uneven between regions and also in the spaces between home and work. 
In the fishing industry, in Southern Italy, it is almost unthinkable for a woman to fish. Men go out to sea and women stay at home. While in regions like Tuscany, talking to old fishermen, one hears that having women in the boat brings bad luck. 
In this tangle of culture, traditions, and patriarchy, three generations of fisherwomen from the Po Delta have been part of the economic driving force that has lifted their families and the region. The Po Delta bases its entire economy on clam harvesting. Here, it is common to see women owning boats, fishing, and working as hard as any man. Winter mornings are hard to deal with. They step out into the dark and the harsh cold hits the warmth on their face given by the interior walls of your home. They can’t afford to be sleepy because the fog surrounds them and it could be dangerous while driving the boat.

Women go down to the water and the contact with the frost is softened by the suit, which repairs their body, but not their hands and face, that hardly get used to feeling so cold. Many days some point they stop, close their eyes, take a deep breath for their own encouragement, and start again. When they return home, they devote the rest of their day to their family, with the same intensity and commitment with which they fish. It is remarkable how differently we could appreciate all the food that comes to us if only we knew the stories behind them. 
The purpose of this work is to highlight women who exemplify outmoded gender stereotypes that still exist even in a western advanced country like Italy.


Chiara Negrello is a documentary photographer living in Florence, Italy, where she graduated in photography in 2017 from LABA Academy. After freelancing for a few years, in 2020-2021 she attended the Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism Program at the ICP school in New York supported by the scholarship awarded by Reuters. In April 2021 she became a member of “Women Photograph” and in October 2021 she was selected for the Eddie Adams Workshop XXXIV. Her works focus primarily on women and have been published by: The New York Times, National Geographic, D la Repubblica, MarieClaire, Der Spiegel, Focus among others.


Instagram: @negrellochiara


Photo Essay curated by Alejandra Martínez Moreno.