“Sabrina On Air.” © Valerio Spada
The murder of 14-year-old Annalisa Durante in the streets of Naples, Italy, sparked photographer Valerio Spada‘s interest in the crime-ridden Italian city. Durante was killed during a gun fight between rival members of Camorra clans. The Mafia-like organization has run the city for many years. Spada began his series “Gomorrah Girls” by documenting Durante’s family and her murder investigation. But he soon began to see that the Camorra influenced how the girls in the area lived, so he decided to document their lives as well. The portraits of the girls show them looking defiant, tough and older than their years, yet its clear there is a vulnerability in them too. They live in a world seeped in the sex, drugs and violence of criminal life, and its hard to see how they’ll find a safe way out.
In 2011, Durante self-published a book of the work, which won Blurb’s Photography Book Now competition. The exhibition “Gomorrah Girl” will open on September 13 at the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center.