SPADA, Valerio. Gomorrah Girl.

(Paris): cross Editions, 2011. First edition. This is the scarce first printing limited to 500 copies. Highly rated photo-book, considered by many to be the best of 2011 and was awarded first prize in the Photography Book Now competition. The volume is a multi-layered project about girls who grow up too quickly in a world dominated by the ‘street rules’ of the Camorra, the Neapolitan mafia. The death of the young Annalisa Durante during a mafia shoot-out is the starting point for the story about adolescents in this complicated city. At the same time, it is also a tribute to their resilience and beauty. Spada with designer Sybren Kuiper developed this double approach into a compelling publication, which forms a book within a book. The book is made to look like a bunch of pages carelessly stapled together. The larger pages – scans of pages – consist of parts of the official police report about the death of Annalisa Durante. You are led to think that you are in fact looking at that report. Inside, with pages alternating, Spada’s photographs are inserted, using a different paper, of different size. The police report shows you the evidence of the crime. Photographs of the locations, photographs of the various bullets, etc. There is no photograph of the victim in the report. In Spada’s photographs, her face appears in a single – the first – photograph. The image shows the upper chest of her father, and you get a glimpse of her in his necklace. The photographs, sequenced very smartly, then lead you into the world she was living in, the world that eventually killed her, to then show you some of the other young women that still live there: Gomorrah Girls. A near fine copy.


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