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Mafia...at your service

Published January 28th, 2014

This is the what the Mafia looks like...

Being sicilian and living abroad I quite often find myself in the uneasy position where I have to explain that "Mafia" is so much more than a fancy thing depicted in a fancy and romantic way by the Francis Ford Coppola trilogy. I grew up in Palermo in those years when the organised crime attacked the grounds of our society, bringing terror and bombs in everyday's life. I was barely 14 when I found myself participating to the funerals of judges Falcone and Borsellino, murdered by animals who love to be referred to as "men of honour".

In that sense I find unacceptable the fact that today, after so many years, organised crime is still so present in Palermo everyday's life. Every corner of the city is "managed" by "specialised" workers who offers you to "take care" of your car...and that's regardless of whether you asked for it. The funny (but also sad) thing is that those "gentlemen" often ask you just a small amount of money to "get a coffee".

I spent one day of summer photographing all of that...a very ordinary day...bringing along a big, noisy camera just to underline how ubiquitous the phenomenon is. I choose to photograph the very centre of the city (although you can find the same situation pretty everywhere) because it gives you an idea of the lack of intervention of the police (not to mention politics).

Each photo is titled after the name of the street where the picture was taken. The camera used was a Hasselblad 500CM with a Carl Zeiss Sonnar 150mm f4

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Falcone

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paolo_Borsellino

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Via Roma

He's specialised in scooters. He's always there. I've seen him at least in the last ten years...always there!

  • August 26th, 2013
  • QSS-32_33
  • 150mm
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Via Scarlatti

The man on the left is "the client" paying the "protection" to the parking "responsible" on the right

  • August 26th, 2013
  • QSS-32_33
  • 150mm
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Via Gaetano Donizetti

Another photo close to the Massimo Theatre (in the background). The guy standing in the centre of the street is just controlling the territory

  • August 26th, 2013
  • QSS-32_33
  • 150mm
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Via Zara

He was simply explaining with gestures the price (5 euros!) to a group of swedish tourists. Fortunately they were aware of the scam (and just to reinforce the message, I talked to them right away....the guy on the right was NOT really happy about that!!!)

  • August 26th, 2013
  • QSS-32_33
  • 150mm
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Via Torrearsa and via Libertà

The very centre of the city is usually managed by Bangladesh citizens. The areas behind Via Libertà is usually under North Africa workers while high value areas (close to hospitals, offices etc) are always managed by italians.

  • August 26th, 2013
  • QSS-32_33
  • 150mm
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Piazza Politeama

I once say him help a Police truck park!!! And the policemen were happy to be served!!! Everybody knows him.

  • August 26th, 2013
  • QSS-32_33
  • 150mm
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Via Giovanni Meli

Having a large territory for an entire day means you have to rest...what is best that having a chair in the middle of the street?!?!?

  • August 26th, 2013
  • QSS-32_33
  • 150mm
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Via Pietro d'Asaro

He looked at me and I think he's still trying to understand what I was doing (shooting with a waist level finder is so funny!!!)

  • August 26th, 2013
  • QSS-32_33
  • 150mm
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Piazza Verdi

Just in front of one of the most beautiful theatre of Europe

  • August 26th, 2013
  • QSS-32_33
  • 150mm
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Via Pignatelli Aragona

He was REALLY suspicious!

  • August 26th, 2013
  • QSS-32_33
  • 150mm
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Viale Regina Margherita

The guy serves the area in front of a private hospital.

  • August 26th, 2013
  • QSS-32_33
  • 150mm
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Via Principe di Granatelli

He takes care of the scooters, in the very same way as his brother and his father did years ago.

Too bad the photo is out of focus

  • August 26th, 2013
  • QSS-32_33
  • 150mm

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