Originally from Sicily, Salvatore Di Gregorio is a self-taught photographer. He obtained a Degree in Communication Studies at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” and a Master in Enterprise Management for the Creative Art at the London College of Communication in London. Salvatore Di Gregorio work bounces between fashion and lifestyle photography, drawing on themes relating to cultural diversity and social fabrics. Deeply attentive, the artist endeavors to throw new light on his subjects through photography. His ability to understand the social undercurrents and nuances of different communities helps him to create quietly intimate, candid imagery and portraiture. Salvatore is based between London and Berlin.
If it was a state it would be anarchic
If it was a flag it would the rainbow
If it was an industry it would create sins
If it was a house it would have 4 doors
If it was a neighborhood...that would be San Berillo in Catania
(from the book by Francesco Grasso, in art Franchina)
Franchina is one of the transvestites who has been working in the neighbourhood for more than 30 years. He is also the author of the book, called “Perché ho sposato San Berillo” (Why I married San Berillo, 2016). Located in the heart of the historic center of Catania, San Berillo is a dense network of narrow streets that flows into small squares surrounded by ruins. It underwent a real estate transaction, which allowed the gutting of the 3/4 of the neighbourhood and the deportation of its historical inhabitants to the new suburb of San Leone. This was one of the largest urbanization operations, exercising the demolition and expulsion of its inhabitants in Italy from the second post-war period onwards. The lack of vision for the recovery of what remains of the old San Berillo district, has in fact ghettoized and then abandoned this part of the city. In the 80’s, it became one of the largest red-light districts in Europe.
Now, with a past deluged in heavy prostitution and drug dealing, the neighbourhood is going through attempts to regenerate. Muslim and Catholic families live next to each other. There is also a Coran school.
The Sicilian mythology of the Trinacria recalls the symbol of Medusa, a gorgon with the head of snakes, where upon one look would turn any human being into stone. “Taliami e te fazzu petra” in the Sicilian dialect means “One gaze and you’ll turn to stone”. The people of San Berillo are reminiscent of this saying - resolute and striking enough to render you stagnant with one gaze. Vanity and passion are common states of mind amongst them and this story wants to explore the boundaries of fashion mixed with the strength of this unique place.