Through the streets of Mathare Slum (Nairobi). The contrast between the innocent beauty of the young girl, the vivid diffidence of the boy behind her, the finality of the desperation shown by the man on the ground and the indifference of the people passing by. This is the ensemble of feelings that runs through these slums every day.
The first thing that comes to my mind when I see this picture is: "well, nice shot, but where is the supposed beauty?" The beauty is very hard to see here, but it is there. These children sniff glue, oil and solvents and eat from the garbage found on the streets. They are part of extremely dangerous street gangs and can be very difficult. The beauty may not be visible at first but it is there, in the situation, in the fact that I managed to get 20-30 of them together, to convince them to stay with me for a few hours, to trust me and viceversa, to tell me their stories and their "dreams". The boy in the foreground is only 18... the other 2 around 15.
I ran into this little boy the first day in Mathare Slum (Nairobi). He was going to school and looked like he was wandering about the future. Behind him one of the streets leading into the slum. A strong element, and one of the things that stands out in this image is the contrast between the harsh environment and the label "Strong" on the boy's jacket.
This family was made up of 3 women (mother and 2 sisters)... the father disappeared a long time ago. These women take care not only of their own children (which are a few as you can see) but have also started a project to try to rescue the so called "Street Children" (see photo n.2). The 3 women provide them with 1 or 2 proper meals a week.
On the street of Mathare Slum, Nairobi. This woman is preparing a basic meal which will be sold to the people walking by. Most people (especially women) always find something to do to make a living. There are many women like this one, cooking or doing some other kind of activity on the streets of Mathare, Kibera and in all the other slums.
Come to church and "the knowledge of God Ministry" will save you from desperation! Welcome to Mathare!!! When I saw this man I immediately pictured him as someone who had seen it all, someone who knew that with or without religion there is no easy way out. Complete, total poverty pushes men to believe, just in order to have a little hope. Right or wrong, it is still a good thing in these desperate situations.
A young girl playing on the railway that runs through Kibera (the second largest slum in the world - Nairobi). All you can see in the background is Kibera with over one million people. While I was taking this picture my mind kept thinking about what kind of future awaits the African countries.
Here we are inside Makadare, one of the largest markets/slums in Nairobi, where people work using old tires and rubber objects to produce shoes, tools and various other things.
Just outside Kibera Slum (Nairobi) a job that has nearly disappeared in the western world is a means of sustenance in these areas.
In the middle of Mathare (Nairobi) and between the garbage and the sewers a few kids were enjoying a game of football... around here every small thing is enjoyed fully.
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Near Mogunda in the north of Kenya. These children live in tiny villages and generally take care of the flocks. The one in the middle has some kind of musical instrument he is playing with. When it is held in the right direction the wind going through the strings makes different sounds. He said that this was his music.
A young girl at sunrise in the refugee camp outside Mogunda (there were still a few shelters from the new refugees waiting to get a better place). She is preparing food for the rest of her family: 2 brothers and a sister.
This old woman from a tiny village near Mogunda came to us out of nowhere and, in a bout of pride, straightened up and asked me to be photographed. She normally walks completely bent over. You could see in her eyes the hard times she went (and was still going) through.
Inside the refugee camp outside Mogunda… a young boy is waiting to get his share of food.
This is the plain where, when I was there in 2012, there were thousands of tents and plastic shelters, making a very large refugee camp. One year later I went back and it was gone ... the government had built 4 new villages, with electricity and running water. The real reason was that the national elections where around the corner, but it was still a happy, unusual and astonishing surprise.
Inside Makadare, one of the largest markets/slums in Nairobi. People are working on the production of shoes from old tires and other rubber recycled objects. This is where products are made, where the work is done and, normally, people are not allowed to enter here. This place is like a huge labyrinth of tiny shops and small businesses crammed together.
Just as you enter Mathare (Nairobi) you run into this "recycle factory". These people spend their days picking up plastic bottles from the streets and then try to sell them by weight. They hang out around Mathare and try, like anyone else, to make a living out of whatever they can find.
This little girls caught my eye because of a really strong contrast... she was holding a classic symbol of western beauty inside one of the harshest realities in the world.
Inside Makadare, one of the largest markets/slums in Nairobi. People are working on the production of shoes from old tires and other rubber recycled objects. This is where products are made, where the work is done and, normally, people are not allowed to enter here. This place is like a huge labyrinth of tiny shops and small businesses crammed together.

Beauty In Hell: Bellezza nell’Inferno

Progetto: Beauty In Hell: Bellezza nell’Inferno

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Beauty In Hell – Bellezza nell’Inferno è un progetto fotografico personale, sviluppato negli ultimi 3 anni che si pone come obiettivo di trovare e mostrare la bellezza all’interno di alcuni dei luoghi più difficili, duri e pericolosi al mondo. Nello specifico 2 delle più grandi baraccopoli di Nairobi (Mathare e Kibera) e dei campi profughi nel nord del Kenya.

Luoghi dove non solo è difficile entrare, ma dove è molto rischioso muoversi. Dove la gente non ha veramente nulla e dove un dollaro significa sopravvivere per un giorno. Posti in cui si viene a contatto con realtà inimmaginabili, scioccanti e spesso incredibili, ma anche con il senso di comunità e di solidarietà che permette a queste persone di andare avanti giorno per giorno. Luoghi dove un tenore di vita da noi considerato molto basso è già un lusso che pochissimi possono permettersi. Zone in cui l’acqua non arriva e le fogne scorrono a vista intorno alla gente. Dove le case sono baracche di lamiere e pezzi di legno che prendono fuoco a turno ogni settimana. Dove i bambini giocano scalzi sopra metri e metri di spazzatura mentre gli odori e la puzza ti entrano fin nelle ossa e ti permeano l’anima.



Nasce come critica personale e risposta artistica alla consapevolezza di vivere all’interno di un sistema che fa uso del dramma in tutto. Noi ormai ci siamo inconsciamente abituati a considerare una cosa interessante e degna di nota solo se contiene dei forti contrasti, quindi se è drammatica. Senza dramma non c’è notizia e tutto diventa noioso. In parole povere utilizziamo il dramma per fare sensazionalismo.

Con “Beauty In Hell” voglio esprimere esattamente l’opposto. Mostrare attraverso la sensibilità artistica che anche all’interno di situazioni veramente drammatiche, di luoghi molto duri e difficili, il bello è sempre presente, che la bellezza dell’essere umano si manifesta ovunque anche quando ci si trova in posti che posso solo definire come dei veri e propri gironi infernali.



Chiaramente il bello in questi luoghi non è facile da trovare. Bisogna prima di tutto averlo dentro di sè per essere in grado di vederlo e per fare in modo che la gente sia disposta a fartelo vedere.

La bellezza si vede negli sguardi di queste persone, nelle situazioni quotidiane, nei sorrisi con cui ti accolgono, ma anche nella rabbia e aggressività con cui ti vengono incontro … in parole povere nella spontaneità, semplicità e mancanza di malizia con cui agiscono.

Il bello è chiaramente visibile nel senso di comunità e condivisione che la nostra società ha quasi perso o di cui forse si è semplicemente dimenticata.

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