Photo above: Photomyner Bruno Polifroni — the baby in the middle — with both parents standing on either side, Calabria, Italy 1968.
This photo by Photomyner Bruno Polifroni in Varapodio (Reggio Calabria), Italy entails a unique story about one man’s exceptional courage and perseverance — the sort of plot you see in movies. But make no mistake; this is a true story that exceeds one’s imagination.
Bruno Polifroni’s father, Nino (standing on the left), started a manufacturing business post-WWII in the hopes of being able to provide for his wife and first child, Bruno. By the 1970’s Nino had two more children and his business had become a profitable and successful enterprise. Nino was thrilled.
But Nino’s thriving business soon caught the attention of the local mafia gang called Ndrangheta, who were eying Nino’s financial success and began a series of repeated harassments, threats and attempts of extortion. These harassments went on for decades — all of which were met with Nino’s consistent resistance even at the risk of being shot at.
“By 1992, my father’s continuous opposition to the mafia’s extortion attempts singled him out as a symbol of resistance to the Ndrangheta. He essentially made the mafia seem like a group of incompetent bullies. I think this is why they began to step up their levels of intimidation and tried to get my father killed. Our family lived in constant terror at the time.” - Bruno Polifroni
In 1996 Nino Polifroni was assassinated. He has since become a local and national symbol of resistance to organized crime in Italy, and the photo above was repeatedly used by local newspapers covering the story of the “Businessman killed for his courage.”
Last September marked the 20th anniversary of Nino Polifroni’s death. The event saw the attendance of numerous Italian government officials and formal representatives of anti-mafia associations in Italy. Photomyne is honored and privileged to have been able to share this photo and story by Bruno Polifroni with the rest of the Photomyne community.
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