As they say in Naples, “Vedi Napoli e poi muori! — See Naples and die!” One can’t blame a Neapolitan for never wanting to leave the city shot by Sam Gregg.
Beautifully shot by Sam Gregg, See Naples and Die is predominantly a portrait of the inhabitants of The Spanish Quarter and Rione Sanità, two of the most visually striking yet volatile parts of the city. It is a documentation of the spirit and vibrancy of the people who live in these areas, who remain steadfast even in the face of abject adversity. They are fiercely proud of their heritage and emblematic of what it means to be a true Neapolitan.
The city of Naples, Italy’s third-biggest, the capital of the south, is caught up in a hotpot of beauty, rich culture, poverty and crime. If you want to experience every Italian stereotype, you will find them all here. As you walk down the narrow, crowded streets of the medieval part of the town, you will hear snatches of opera sung from upstairs windows, handsome young men will swoop through the throng carrying trays of fish or bread at shoulder height while trying to get the attention of beautiful girls three-at-a-time on a scooter. There is pizza, thick red wine, dead saints and priceless art.
The best thing about Naples, though, is that it is totally unconcerned about visitors. Not many people are brave enough to go there, but the ones who do are always hooked. Sam Gregg certainly was and he exhumed the beauty in the rawness of this ultra-photogenic city. His images tell a story through the eyes of the people he points his camera at. Gregg seems to be able to see beyond all of the tattoos; thick, rough skin; shabby clothes; odd makeup; and with no fear and a click of a button, he sparks the light in them.