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The Pulse of Naples

Words:

Edd Norval

Photos:

Sam Gregg
October 26, 2018

Naples is a city with an ever-present duality. During the day, it breathes life and vibrancy - there's a rhythm, a smell, a flavour. As the sun descends, each of these characteristics remain, yet they change with the circadian cycle.

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The unshakeable spirit of the people has been documented most recently in shows about the crime in the city. It's lumped the majority in with the minority and presented a homogenous package of what life there is like to the rest of the world. It's an alluring image, one that beckons us to explore, yet for the less intrepid, it can be isolating.


London based documentary photographer Sam Gregg was eager to explore these misconceptions in his series See Naples and Die. In the city it was clear that there was an abundance of life beyond the ideas associated with death, criminality and violence. Life there is exuberant, the cobbled streets click-clack with a local sound, punctuated sharply by the native tongue.


It's a city where Maradona, the football player who could not be tamed, is a hero. It's no surprise - he's just like them, they are just like him. The visceral honesty of life there, still bound by a code of omerta even if it isn't referred to that way, translates into an outwards expulsion of vibrant and chaotic energy.


Gregg took the time to look beyond the headlines. In doing so, he gave us an insight into a city whose love of life runs far deeper than their televised reputation of gangsters and gang-wars. It is these people in his photographs that lay the rightful claim to being the true Neapolitans.

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