Catania, Sicily. In the ‘problem areas’ of this city, both the school dropout rate and the crime rate are high. Many young people here live off theft and drug dealing, supporting their mothers when their fathers are “attaccato”, i.e. in prison. 

Family bonds are still strong here and, as the Italian photographer Daniele Vita states, are not unlike the “respect” laws of the mafia culture that is still very much alive in the area. It is almost regarded as normal to live a life between freedom and prison. 

Vita accompanied young people from notorious neighborhoods, the so-called “Quatteri”, in taking their first steps towards adulthood: Ten to 15-year-olds who meet at the cliffs by the sea to try many things for the first time: first cigarettes, first drugs, first kisses, first sex. They have often experienced violence, some have even held a weapon in their hands -  yet they are still children. They want to go with the flow, but where will the current take them?

Photographer: Daniele Vita, Italy

Portrait: Daniele Vita

© Francesco Galli

Daniele Vita, born in 1975 near Viterbo in Tuscany, began to devote himself to photography while he was still studying sociology and anthropology. The topics of his photo series, always held in black and white, included the life of migrants in Rome and on the refugee island of Lampedusa. 

Vita’s main focus is on the south of Italy, the home of his father, where he currently lives. For his photo series on the processions of the Holy Week in Sicily, Vita already received an honorable mention at the UNICEF Photo of the Year in 2019 as well as other awards. Vita is a regular guest at major photo festivals.


More information on the competition and the UNICEF Photo of the Year 2020 reportages.

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Renowned photographers from all over the world take part in the contest. An independent jury decides upon the winner.

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