Legendary Italian photographer Letizia Battaglia has died aged 87

Legendary Italian photographer Letizia Battaglia has died aged 87. Image: Twitter

Legendary Italian photographer Letizia Battaglia has died aged 87.

The photojournalist famously ‘shot’ the Italian mafia.

LEGENDARY Italian photographer Letizia Battaglia, who famously ‘shot’ the Italian mafia, has died in Palermo, Italy aged 87, according to reports on Wednesday, April 13. Tributes have poured in following the news.

According to palermo.repubblica.it, Battaglia had been ill for some time but died late into the evening today, April 13.

The news outlet described her as “irreverent, iconic and deliberately divisive” noting that she left her mark in the history of photography, but above all in Palermo.

Known as the ‘mafia photographer’, she managed to snatch close-ups from the bosses and make the arrests iconic. However, her most famous picture, or the one most notable in her home town of Palermo, is that of the girl holding a football under her arm, which as the Italian website noted, accurately portrayed the city in those years.

Battaglia began her career in 1969 at Italian newspaper L’Ora di Palermo. She then moved to Milan and together with the photographer Franco Zecchin, created an agency that documented the news.

Famously, she was the first to photograph the scene where Italian politician Piersanti Mattarella was killed by the mafia on January 6, 1980. In that photo, a young Sergio Mattarella, the current President of Italy, is seen trying to get his brother out of the car.

As noted, she was famous for following the mafia and documenting their ‘crimes’.

Battaglia once said of her mafia photos: “They chased me away from everywhere. Even my colleagues didn’t consider me, they looked down on me. But my photos are still there, those of others are not.”

Tributes flooded social media after the news of her death was announced.

“Dear Letizia, you are leaving in a bad period of our history. You had a wonderful life. We will miss you, we will remember you,” one person wrote.

Another said: “With the death of Letizia Battaglia we lose an extraordinary woman. Truly exceptional. A symbol of Italian art and a great fighter. Rest in peace.”

“Bad news just came out. Unfortunately Letizia Battaglia died. We #chilhavisters met her because through the transmission she met the girl in this photo after many years. May the earth be light to her,” another wrote.

Another person on Twitter said: “Addio #LetiziaBattaglia! Sicily lost today a very important artist, feminist, photographer, and intellectual. She photographed the most remarkable moments during the mafia wars in Palermo and portrayed the cultural life of Sicilians tremendously. We”ll miss you! Rest in Power!”


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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