Italian anti-mafia photographer Battaglia dies aged 87

Italian anti-mafia photographer Battaglia dies aged 87

Italian anti-mafia photographer Battaglia dies aged 87

Italian photographer Letizia Battaglia, whose shots of bullet-riddled bodies captured the dark world of the Sicilian Mafia, has died aged 87.

Prize-winning Battaglia, who would speed to the scene of murders in the 1980s on her Vespa to bear witness to the violence, blew away the romanticized and sanitized image of Cosa Nostra.

Palermo mayor Leoluca Orlando said her death late April 13 had deprived his city, the Sicilian capital, of “an extraordinary woman” who played “an emblematic part in the process of freeing Palermo from the Mafia’s control.”

Battaglia, an anti-Mafia campaigner who became a local politician in Palermo and then a regional Sicilian assembly member, started out in the photo department of a local daily newspaper.

Battaglia’s pictures show a small street in Palermo, the interior of an apartment, the white wall of a pork butcher’s shop, a garage ramp, the back of a bus, a car seat.

They all have one thing in common: Captured in black and white a body lying on the ground near a pool of blood, or a face torn apart by a bullet.In 2006, she said those bloody times may be gone, but the Mafia is not. The Rome exhibition, she said, was “a cry for help, because the consequences for our island of the Mafia are as unbearable as ever.”