Letizia Battaglia, an iconic Italian photojournalist who became known for capturing the Sicilian mafia for decades, died this Wednesday (13) at the age of 87. The information was released by the mayor of Palermo, capital of the region of Sicily, Leoluca Orlando, in a post on Twitter.
“Palermo loses an extraordinary woman, a point of reference. Letizia Battaglia was an internationally recognized symbol in the art world, a flag on the road to liberating the city of Palermo from the mafia rule,”.
The cause of death was not revealed, but Patrizia Stagnitta, the photographer’s daughter, told the Ansa agency that the mother had been sick for some time and used a wheelchair to get around.
“Despite the suffering of the disease and the difficulties of locomotion, she continued to have many contacts, participating in meetings even abroad and even facing long trips”, she said. “The great will to live had never passed”. She also says that until the morning of this Wednesday she was lucid, but had a sudden illness before dying.
Battaglia was born in Palermo, in March 1935, and made Sicily the main character of her clicks. A pioneer in police news coverage, she became famous for her portrayals of decades of crime by Cosa Nostra, the local mafia, throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
“We were at war and I was a woman with a camera on my neck who needed and wanted to document everything that happened to report it to the whole world,” Battaglia told Folha in 2019 when 90 photographs of her formed an exhibition at the Instituto Moreira Salles.
“Murders, bombs, drug trafficking, political and social corruption,” says Battaglia, filled her days as a photographer for the left-wing newspaper L’Ora, for which she worked between 1974 and 1990. with local policy.
Battaglia said she was proud to have been the only woman working for an Italian newspaper at the time and said she had taken around 600,000 photos.
“I suffered physical violence, threats, received anonymous letters, and telephone intimidation. Of course, I was always afraid. But I would pass the door of the house and go to photograph”, she recalled, adding that she only became aware of the “cruelty” of the mafia’s activities with the pass the time.
In the late 1980s and 1990s, she entered politics and became secretary of culture for the Green Party.
She also won awards in the field of photography, such as the Erich-Salomon Preis, in 2007, and the Cornell Capa Infinity Award, in 2009. Among her most recent achievements, she created an International Center of Photography in Palermo in 2016, where the archive is housed. photography of the city and exhibitions and workshops are promoted.