This article originally appeared on VICE Italy
Claudio Majorana's new photo book, Head of the Lion, is a study of the intimacy between a group of young skaters in Misterbianco – a suburb of Catania, Sicily. "I don't think you can really get a feel for a city without knowing its suburbs," Claudio says. "Being the only part of a city that is actually expanding, they represent the future of urbanisation."
The title of the book, Head of the Lion, refers to a large rock in the area where kids like to hang out in the summer; jumping over it is almost seen as a rite of passage.
Majorana is a trained doctor, and sees similarities between medicine and photography: "In both cases, it's about an exchange with people where it's important to find empathy. I believe doctors and photographers share a skillset."
Claudio was part of the Sicilian skate scene himself for 15 years, and this isn't his first book on the topic. In the past he's documented its emergence, as well as the international competitions that started coming to the island in 2004.
But with Head of the Lion, Claudio wanted to get back to basics and capture the reasons why any kid would decide to pick up a skateboard in the first place. On an island like Sicily – which isn't exactly blessed with the smooth marble plazas of middle America – you have to be fairly dedicated to persevere. "I was attracted to how determined these kids were to learn how to skate," he explains. "When I first met them in 2011, they spent whole afternoons building ramps using scrap materials from an abandoned building site – mostly wood and metal tubes held together with sellotape."
"I naturally identified with the kids. I saw myself in their dreams of becoming great skaters, as well as in their fear of becoming adults. What I love about adolescence is the way people discover their growing need for independence, while at the same time still feeling a strong need to be protected."
You can buy Head of the Lion online at Cesura Publish. Scroll down to see more photos from the book.