“Naomi was my neighbour, the first person in London that said ‘hello’ to me. A strange creature, I thought. Yellow eyes, virulent mood swing, desperate cries and anger. I wanted to photograph her. To show how she lived, what kind of house she had.
She was always drinking, especially beer. Her meaningless babble resembled an interior monologue she had reharsed over the years about war, rape, the family that didn’t want her anymore.
Only her big brother Thomas was taking care of her. Her dad said, ‘call me when you are not drunk, otherwise don’t come’. She had a daughter of six years, who was taken away and lived with the father and his mother.
She never saw her. She didn’t feed her daughter, who used to knock on the neighbour’s door saying ‘I’m starving.’ She loved her, she had her pictures on the walls, she looked at them.
On 23 April 2008, Naomi died. She was hit by a courier van, Thomas sent me an e-mail:
‘Hi Jacopo. Naomi is dead. She died earlier today on Brixton road. She was hit by a Courier van and died instantly. I just thought you might want to know. I will post you details of her funeral to see if you can make it. all the best, Thomas Benjamin’”