in collaboration with
‘Spring/Summer 2008’ is a series
of portraits showing Senegalese beach vendors at the Tuscan coast. The
title of this project is connected to the seasonal fashions that year-by-year
fuel the desire to own and display the latest trendy clothes and accessories.
For this project, we met and studied the people who are forced to work
on the edge of today’s consumer society. The Senegalese are the
primary ethnic group that migrates to Italy and lives here without legal
status. (They are joined by Romanians, Albanese, Moroccans and Chinese,
One main reason they are here is because of a fishing crisis in Senegal,
which is a result of the globalization of the fishing towns into vacation
Since most immigrants are not protected by any social security system,
neither from their home countries, nor from the Italian immigration policy,
they are forced to resort to cheap and illegal labor. These street vendors
are called "Vu' cumprà” a malapropism of their pronunciation
of the daily question "Vuoi comprare?" (Would you like to buy?).
Especially cheap copies of famous brands and luxury products, such as
handbags, T-shirts, sunglasses and belts, sell well on the beaches. The
vendors are hunted by the police — and loved by the bargain-hunting,
This series plays off a classical aesthetic of fashion photography, showing
the vendors in the unusual positions of models who could come directly
from the cover page of a magazine. However, the models‘ faces are
never visible. The person disappears in disguise: men and women in-between
loud advertising, hiding their existence in illegality.