Scugnizzi: Brett Lloyd in Naples

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Scugnizzi, 2014
Scugnizzi, 2014Photography by Brett Lloyd, Courtesy of Dashwood Books

Tis the season to close your eyes and dream of beaches – so revel in the joys of Brett Lloyd's Neapolitan seaside scenes

Brett Lloyd’s first experience of summer in Naples was a profound one: “I think I am still in shock from the first time I came onto those beaches,” he remembers. “I walked around open-mouthed, watching these Caravaggian scenes played out with such gusto, practically invisible amid the never-ending chaos.” That initial encounter with the Italian city has turned into “a lifetime addiction”, and the energy and verve of the resulting photographs prompted New York based publisher Dashwood Books to commission Lloyd to create a book of his experiences. The result, edited in conjunction with Another Man creative director Alister Mackie and designed by Francesca Grassi, is a photobook titled Scugnizzi – a vibrant, fervent work named for the street kids who fill its pages. With the launch taking place tomorrow at Donlon Books, Lloyd opens up about his days on the beach, and the people he met there.

“I walked around open-mouthed, watching these Caravaggian scenes played out with such gusto”

The beaches...
"The families on the city’s beaches are the poorest in the district – no one speaks English and I speak no Italian. There was little need for conversation – I would approach most scenarios unseen. The kids were more curious by nature. They would demand I take their “FOTO, FOTO” whilst at the same time holding their fishing knives up at me. What was most interesting for me was their lack of interest in seeing the image after it was taken. After visiting the beaches most days I became friends with some of the families. I was nicknamed “Speak English” as this is the only thing I asked any new acquaintance."

The people...
"There was a notable absence of men on the beach, it was all women and kids. I met one brother and sister who spoke English and worked in a kiosk with their family selling limoncello and beers to the crowds. She was telling me that all the fathers travel to the south of France for the summer where they operate as pick pockets, and most of them end up getting caught and going to jail. Whilst photographing one of the girls at the kiosk, I was told that her father was spending an especially long time in a French jail as he unknowingly pick pocketed Nicolas Sarkozy at the time he was President. The kid was subsequently bullied for having a stupid father."

The title...
“Scugnizzi is a Neapolitan word used to describe the street kids who are cunning and lively, the ones who live by their wits and take chances. It’s said in an endearing way – think of the Artful Dodger in Dickens.”

The layout...

"The format took inspiration from the relentlessness of the action. It was really a case of every time you turned around there was the most insane scenario you had ever seen. I must have captured only a tenth of what I saw that summer. I asked the book’s designer Francesca Grassi to translate this into the layout, which she did wonderfully. The wrap around images exactly illustrate the frustrations of not getting to a moment quick enough or being there but witnessing only half the moment in the frame.”

Scugnizzi is published by Dashwood Books. The launch is at Donlon Books on December 10.