Anti-mafia journalist from Palermo scoured Sicilian alleyways in 1970s and 1980s to expose brutal violence
Armed only with her Leica camera and mounted on a Vespa, Battaglia scoured the alleyways of Palermo during the 1970s and 1980s photographing the victims of mafia murders and the internal wars between rival clans. As a result she received several death threats.
Documentary "Shooting the Mafia" profiles Italian photographer Letizia Battaglia, noted for chronicling the lives of underworld figures.
“The camera changed my life,” says Italian photojournalist Letizia Battaglia, the incredibly compelling subject of veteran documentarian Kim Longinotto’s “Shooting the Mafia.” Before Battaglia picked up a camera at age 40, she was a teenage bride who raised three daughters and endured a rocky marriage. When she walked into the local newspaper in her hometown of Palermo, Sicily, looking for work, she found her calling as a photojournalist, chronicling the Mafia War in Sicily and its high-profile trials.
We spoke to the octogenarian photojournalist about her life behind the camera.
Since 1971, Letizia Battaglia has documented the rich, dangerous, and sun-bathed lives of the people of Sicily's capital, Palermo. For years she worked as a photojournalist for the now-defunct newspaper L'Ora, but packed it in when the paper closed.