L’Aquila Earthquake

by Guido Gazzilli

On the 6th of April 2009, at 3.30 am, the centre of Italy was shaken by a powerful quake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale. Coming in the middle of the night meant that almost everyone was sleeping in their houses, and there was little if any warning of the catastrophe. The quake caused major destruction, killing 294 persons and severely damaged houses, apartments, and historic churches together with much of the student accommodation, at the time full of young people studying at the university of L’Aquila.

News of the quake spread quickly around the world and was a headline story for a time, centering of on the town of L’Aquila, where the epicenter of the quake struck. The story in the UK at least ran for perhaps 3 days but failed to really cover the fact that the quake also affected many of the surrounding towns and villages many of which are still suffering today. In all about 70,000 people were affected and even today it is estimated that a frighteningly high proportion of that number remain homeless.

L’Aquila itself continues to effectively be a no go area, the authorities turning people away who try to get in to the centre. On the outskirts, as with many of the surrounding towns and villages, thousands of people are still living in tents, their livelihoods along with many of their loved ones have been lost, and those that do remain are left traumatized by not only the earthquake but the events that have unfolded since. Although a great deal has already been done to help, the promises of assistance from the Italian government are yet to really make a difference for most, whether this is simply the enormity of the task, the famous Italian bureaucracy at work, or more probably empty promises put forward by politicians, who can really say. What is known is that at the time of writing winter is setting in and snow is starting to fall in the region, especially in and around L’Aquila, one of the highest cities in Italy, not any time to be living in a tent.

Guido Gazzilli visited the region during the days after this terrible event and shot the images in this piece, later this month he will visit again to see the situation several months on and we will be updating this feature with his findings.

Guido Gazzilli

Guido Gazzilli was born in 1983 in Rome where he currently lives. He graduated at IED of Rome in 2006 and started travelling through Europe working on subcultures and the independent music scene.

He has been a freelance photographer since 2006 and has worked with several Italian magazines. During this time he has concentrated on documentary style stories focusing mainly on social issues. His pictures have been published in many magazines and websites such as: Ventiquattro Magazine, Foto8, Vice International, Rodeo, Fantom Editions, ITIWA, PIG mag, Rolling Stone, Celebrate Originality. In Italy he’s represented by 7minutes Agency.

He has also taken part in many group and solo exhibitions in Europe:

3.32 Reportage Atri Festival 2009
Luce Dentro, Love and Dissent, Rome 2009
RAM_09 Palladium, Rome 2009
This Is All I Came To Do, Jaguar Shoes, London, 2008
Ruhende Winkel, Vinesso, Frankfurt 2008
Down Click, Scuderie Rispoli, Rome 2007
Books: 2009 Reportage Atri Festival catalogue, Peliti Association

More pictures and further details can be found at www.guidogazzilli.com

What’s in the bag?
I usually shoot with a lot of different cameras, all of them with fixed lenses.

Leica MP with Summilux 35 asph 1.4 ( first love)
Contax T2 (i adore it)
Canon 5D MarkII with 35 EF USM 1.4 (superb quality)
Kodak tri-x films and Fuji Film for colour work.

All images copyright © Guido Gazzilli