'On the Identity of a Tomato Picker' is a visual narrative about the African community of tomato pickers working in the fields of Puglia, Italy.
I went to “Grand Ghetto”, a cluster of precarious shelters in the countryside near Foggia, Italy, with the intention of documenting the harsh living conditions of the thousands of African immigrants that work in the fields of Puglia picking tomatoes.
Soon after arriving, though, I started being confronted by them about my right to shoot those photographs. Many others have been here before me, they said, shooting and distributing pictures that were largely unrelated to the image that the people portrayed have of themselves. It’s an image that hurts, an image that is far from their identity.
‘I am not what I look like,’ was the key concept of this long speeches I had while I was trying to understand why people were so reluctant to be photographed.
I worked on this series cooperatively with my subjects, with the intention of telling a story in a way that would respect these people’s right to self-represent themselves, a story that leaves some questions open. I did not want to exploit their appearance, but rather collect hints and traces that could help me create an open narrative about their struggle.
- Dario Bosio