THESE images lay bare the horror of Mafia murders during the dark days of the 1970s and 1980s.
Taken by brave photographer Letizia Battaglia, this gallery has emerged ahead of a powerful film about her extraordinary life.
The new documentary called Shooting the Mafia unflinchingly explores the stark reality of life, and death, under the oppressive yoke of the Corleonesi mob and told through the eyes of Battaglia, who is one of Italy’s most famous photojournalists.
The power of Letizia’s photography — of which over 600,000 images exist in her archive — is explored as is the bravery and dedication of people who helped to finally bring to an end the brutal reign of a globally notorious crime syndicate.
At one time their reign of fear reached as far as the Italian presidency.
Born in 1935 and now 84 years old, Battaglia began documenting the Mafia’s impact in the 1970s, known by Italians as the “years of flying lead”.
And it is through her lens that we enter this world of ritualised slaughter, semi-religious oppression and feudal control.
There was initially little to hint at Letizia Battaglia’s skill as a crime-scene photographer. In her 40s, stuck in a stuffy bourgeois household and battling with depression, she took a job as a photographer for a Palermo-based newspaper.
She became the first female photographer in Italy to work for a daily newspaper.
Planning to document ordinary people’s lives, she witnessed her first murder scene three days into the job.
Soon she found herself recording the reign of terror inflicted by the Mafia on the city’s inhabitants.
The photographs, by turns visually dazzling and shocking, gained Battaglia the reputation as a modern day ‘WeeGee’, often appearing at crime scenes before the police had arrived.