Valerio Spada – Gomorrah Girl

The panel were almost unanimously enthusiastic about this apparently simple photobook, which gives a graphic impression of what it means to grow up in Camorra-dominated Naples. Most girls there live under the hopelessness of poverty, crime, drugs and teenage pregnancies, and they seem to have no hope of anything better.

It is teenagers like these, dreaming of a better future and trying to escape through boxing or singing, that photographer Valerio Spada shows us here. His own reportage photographs are interspersed with a reproduction of the police report of the murder of one of them: fourteen-year-old Annalisa Durante, a girl who just happened to find herself in the firing line in a Camorra gunbattle.

This contrast, which is accentuated visually in two sorts and sizes of paper, gives the magazine-like book a great intensity. Horrifying violence and the threat of it are an all-pervading part of everyday life that is reflected here in the book’s low-key design. Spada’s title Gomorrah Girl is a reference to the best-seller by Roberto Saviano, an indictment of the Camorra.

Honourable mention, Best Book Design from all over the World, Leipzig 2012

Edition: 2011
Language: English
Publisher / commissioner: Cross Editions, Paris (F)
Designer: -SYB-
Lithographer: Colour & Books, Apeldoorn (Sebastiaan Hanekroot)
Printer: KDR | Marcom, Zaandam
Binder: Van Elst, Apeldoorn
Dimensions: 200 x 297 x 6
Amount of pages: 40 + 44 p.
Number of copies: 500
Retail price in euros: € 29.50 (first printing)
ISBN: 978 2 9536712 0 9
Font and foundry: Franklin Gothic Extra Condensed, Univers Condensed
Binding style: stapled with red staples, self cover
Material: 100gsm IJsselprint, 150gsm Go! Matt