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“To understand Naples you inevitably have to know the Neapolitans.”

Ciro Pipoli, is a son of Naples, telling the story of its people and its streets, capturing the faces of both young and old, their hopes for tomorrow and their dreams of yesterday.

For a long time, Naples has been polarised and perceived by northern Italy and sections of the media as a place of poverty and peasants, and where cholera was more prevalent than Calcio. It has been characterised as a lawless city where Gangs, Gomorrah, Murder and the Mafia rule. When Maradona signed for Napoli, it was declared that the world’s most expensive player had joined the poorest city in the world.

The Italian media has long been guilty of condemning Naples, without ever looking to fully understand it, and the north of Italy has persecuted its people for the city’s past. Whilst institutions have refused and failed to change that narrative, Ciro’s photography has started to alter it.

For so long those peering through a curtain of judgement saw only Scampia. They choose to ignore a city built on resilience and character, where strength pulses through its streets. Those who have turned a blind eye to its beauty are now beginning to see it through a different lens.

“I started shooting at the age of 16,” explains Ciro. I have always done it very spontaneously, I did it because I wanted to defend my city.”

Since those early days, Ciro has given life to the thousands of people he has met, every day telling their story and unveiling the truth about Naples. Through a single picture, he invites us into a world where the smell of zeppole drifts gently through the air into the piercing blue sky, and carefree children summersault into the lapis lazuli-coloured sea.

Ciro portrays the raw and authentic side of the city, the bronzed and wrinkled skin of those who have spent a lifetime working, the tattoos of ‘tutto de passa,’ and the murals of Maradona which show that even though the Hand of God is in heaven, his touch is still felt on all those below. His work has become a symbol of the city and has given a sense of pride to Neapolitans. 

Ciro’s work reinforces the strong cultural heritage of Naples and it has now been turned into a beautiful yellow bound book of 159 photos, and 5 chapters, that capture the soul of the city which still exists in its unique identity.  “Ciro. Il nome che identifica un popolo” is a journey through small moments, memories, and the people who are proud to call Naples home.

“Over the years I have had the pleasure of great work experiences and looking back I would never have expected this because I had no intention of wanting to turn this passion into a job,” Ciro tells us. “It seemed impossible to me but perhaps it is this spontaneity that has allowed me to make all of this a reality.”

 “Ciro. Il nome che identifica un popolo” 

Ciro’s first-ever photography book takes you on an adventure throughout his city, and neighbourhoods to find a Naples that still exists beyond the tourism. It is a Naples that he grew up with, where children played football in the Piazza del Plebiscito and Panni stesi flowed from the window in the gentle breeze. That in itself represents the true strength of the city.  Naples of the past with all its resilience will always be there to tell its story and remind future generations of where they came from and what it means to be Neapolitan.

What a pleasure it was to sit down with Ciro to talk about his debut book, life in Naples and the importance of giving a voice to those people who make his city special.

what I wanted to photograph was the reality I experienced and lived every day of my life.

Today what inspires me in my work is the happiness and serenity I feel while doing it. For me, walking around the streets of Naples with my camera makes me feel really good and makes me forget any kind of problem.

My photographic work has changed a lot. I cannot deny that I used to follow what the trends of the moment were, but with the passing of time, I realised that this was not my world.

I am a boy born and raised in the heart of Naples, precisely in the Quartieri Spagnoli, I have always lived on the streets with my friends, between a football match and a day at the beach. That is how I realised that what I wanted to photograph was the reality I experienced and lived every day of my life.

To understand Naples you inevitably have to know the Neapolitans, and in my own small way, I try to give voice to those people who make my city special.

my wish is that this book can be a small window into Naples

The idea for the book did not come from me but from two guys who proposed that I should make my first photo book, Stefano and Franz, whom I would like to thank for helping me realise a dream.

The idea was suggested to me last year and over the following months, we met several times to decide how to proceed with the book. It was very difficult to select the photos to include and those to exclude, but after months of meetings, we chose 159 photos divided into 5 chapters.

Probably the most difficult part of this job was choosing a title that the three of us could agree on. Among various options, we finally chose “Ciro” and I must confess that I was initially very opposed to this choice and I was not sure about this title, my concern was that it would be too self-referential, but in the end, after discussions with my family, friends and people important to me, I realised that the right choice was to title the book “Ciro”. 

The reception from the public to the book has been very positive, my wish is that this book can be a small window into Naples, a book that can pay homage to the beauty of its citizens and everyday life.

I am sure that for everyone who looks through this book, it will be like taking a trip back to childhood, a journey through smells, memories and people.

I did it because I wanted to defend my city

I started shooting at the age of 16 and I have always done it very spontaneously, I did it because I wanted to defend my city and photography was the best way for me, it was the right way to communicate directly.

I grew up in Naples having many positive experiences. The first time I went out alone was with my friends and it was to play football in the square, at the campetto or down at the port.

When you’re small and play in the street, it’s inevitable to meet older people and I think this is a great chance to grow. It is these acquaintances that gave me a very early sensitivity and empathy, from a very young age, I heard unique stories and as I grew up I realised that they deserved to be told.

I would advise any person visiting Naples, to live 24 hours without a pattern to follow. I would advise people to wander the streets of Naples aimlessly, the best thing would be to immerse themselves in its streets and let their instincts guide them. In this way, I am sure each person would have the pleasure of meeting unique people and stories.

Personally, I do not like to plan life, I prefer to live one day at a time

I am 27 years old now and I know that I am at the beginning of a beautiful adventure that I hope to live for many years, but so far I can confess that the greatest personal satisfaction was when I had the pleasure and honour of photographing Napoli’s 3rd Scudetto, a Scudetto that came after 33 years of waiting.

For me, it was the first Scudetto and to have had the opportunity to photograph the trophy among the people and to photograph the team at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium was a real daydream, I still can’t believe it happened.

When I am not working my favourite thing to do is to play football, it is a passion I have had since I started walking as a child and although time has passed it is still a great passion of mine. Many people underestimate how important it is to do sport in life, I really enjoy sharing time with other friends and playing football just like we did as children

Personally, I do not like to plan life, I prefer to live one day at a time and see what the future holds. I have always lived my life this way and fortunately for me many good things have come along. But I can confess that I have the idea of doing another book but I can’t say anything yet, we’ll see in the future.

All of our thanks to the gentleman that is Ciro Pipoli.

For more information on Ciro’s debut book, please visit his website:

To follow Ciro on Instagram, please click here.

All images are by Ciro Pipoli

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