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'O Post Mio

di Francesca Leonardi Ed. Postcart

About the project

" ‘O post mio ’ is an eight-year photographic work in which I followed the life of Claudia. A woman who, together with her two daughters, Alessandra and Federica, occupied a house in the Saraceno Park.

The Saraceno Park is located near Naples, in the town of Castel Volturno, inside the Coppola Village: in the ‘60s, when it was built destroying a rich pinewood forest, it was the largest illegal urban agglomeration in Europe.



Claudia's life resembles the fate of this pine forest. On her body have been poured flows of violence and marginalization that have transfigured her life. Its beauty fights against a continuous "brutalization" contaminated by poverty and crime. The love for her daughters is a clear attempt at redemption, a way to bury abuses and revive the rich pine forest.

I met Claudia in 2010 while photographing this huge illegal neighborhood by the sea. I was immediately struck by her vitality, courage and strength. It was love at first sight. When she told me her story I realized that through her I had the opportunity to show how a territory can determine a person's life.

Claudia was "sold" by her mother at the age of 16 months. Found by her grandmother in a family in Modena, at the age of 14 she ends up in a community for minors at risk. Few years later life leads her to meet the father of her two daughters, an “handyman” of the Camorra who left her soon after having their children for prison. I was there when her last companion, father of her third child, took the baby away from her at the tender age of three months.



During these eight years Claudia and I have tightened a special friendship. This intimacy allowed me to enter her life as never has happened to me before in my work. But this also confronted me with dilemmas. Especially when I saw her building a violent relationship with the man with whom she had her third child. In front of their violent arguments I wondered what was the right thing to do: document or intervene?



This book is a double journey, the one in the life of this woman, a warrior, daughter of a beautiful but hostile territory and the one in my experience as a documentary photographer who explores the boundaries and conflicts of documenting.



'O post mio is also an audio documentary broadcast by Radio Tre. This is the link to listen to the episodes.


Who talked about 'O Post Mio?

BBC Radio

BBC World Services



Marie Claire France

Huffington Post




What are the funds for?


Photo books are precious objects. Printing a photo book has very high costs because the quality of the paper must be high and the cover robust and unique, only some typographies are specialized in this type of printing and mounting.

Together with the book designer Francesca Pignataro, the photo editor Annalisa D'Angelo and Postcart publishing house we wanted to create a book that, in addition to telling the story of a territory and a family, was also a unique and valuable object.

Apparently the book will look like a normal photographic book. In reality it is a sort of casket which, once opened, reveals 2 parts: on one side there will be a visible binding with the 80 color images, on the other, distanced from a lighter paper, there will be the text divided into 6 chapters. In practice they are two distinct books, contained in a single casket.

In the photographic part, wisely edited in almost nine months of work together with Annalisa D'Angelo, there are my images of these 8 years of work interspersed with scans of images of Claudia's past. In this way I tried to blend together past and present trying to bring out how the present of Claudia, apparently so daring and casual, was conditioned by her childhood, the incessant search towards a family balance she has never had. Her past mirrored her present. I saw her strive to be the mother she never had. Looking for the ideal father for her daughters life did not grant her as a child. Along with photos of her past, there are Claudia's quotations related to her mother. Seeing these memories regarding her mother, a visual game was born between past and present.

In the text section, edited by Elisabetta Galgani and Andrea Milluzzi, there is my story of these 8 years, Claudia's dialogues with her daughters, the most incredible anecdotes of this woman's intense life.


Typographic features of the photo book

  • Format: 210 x 160 mm
  • Interior: 184 pages printed in 4 + 4 colors on Arctic Volume Ivory paper of 115 gr. Booklet: 210x160 mm format 36 pages printed on Munken Print White paper 80 gr, singer thread.
  • Hardcover in printed canvas.
  • Swiss binding
  • Book design by Francesca Pignataro
  • Print run of 600 copies
  • Language: Italian and English


Reaching the budget for the production of the book would already fulfill a great dream but if I had to exceed the budget I would immediately get to work with the skilful director and editor from Campania, Simona Cocozza, who is passionate like me for Claudia and the Parco Saraceno, in the production of a short documentary with the video material collected over the years along with the images.


About the project owner

My name is Francesca Leonardi. I live in Bracciano, near Rome, with my partner, my two children, 8 cats, 5 horses and dozens of cows.

When I was 13, I accompanied my mother on a business trip to China. That journey opened me up to the world and blew my curiosity about foreign cultures.

At the age of 21, I emigrated to the United States where I stayed for the next 9 years. That's where I discovered photography.

During my stay in New York I attended the ICP (International Center of Photography), studied with Amy Arbus (daughter of Diane Arbus.) And I had the privilege of knowing sacred "monsters" like Irving Penn. But above all I met a special person who would change my way of looking at the world: the director Giulia Amati (This is my Land Hebron, 2010).

I like working on long-term projects both in Italy and abroad. I collaborate with magazines such as Internazionale and non-governmental organizations such as Save the Children, etc. 'O Post Mio is my most personal and ambitious project.

Since 2010 I have been represented by the photojournalist Contrasto.

My work has appeared in numerous printed and web publications such as: Espresso, International, Io Donna, Gioia, Marie Claire, Foto8, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, Die Zeit, Photo Raw.


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