Sublime Napoli - Jean Luc Dubin


Made of «deep blacks» and «exploded whites», the Bay of Naples reveals the ambivalence of a thousand-year-old population, suspended at Vesuvius. Fascinated by the primitive beauty of reality, Jean Luc Dubin understands the social world without interpretation or spirituality, guided by what Florian Villain, friend and sociologist, calls “a blind eye”.

Human behaviour in all its materiality is an inexhaustible source of poetry for the photographer. In Naples, his street photos form like a social precipitate, triggered by the magic moment of the click.

Texts : Florian Villain
Photographer : Jean Luc Dubin

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As such, the series on Naples includes several bones and vanities attached to the «ritual of wandering souls», which consists in honoring the skull of the dead in order to soften their arrival in the afterlife and offer them recognition and dignity¹ .

In the heart of the Neapolitan cellars, women have perpetuated this tradition for centuries. Jean-Luc Dubin took an interest in these practices at the same time as Florian Villain, who found in the photographs of his friend, a resonance to the thesis that he would expose some time later, in the review of Mauss. In its history, Naples
has overcome constant tragedies and threats that have permanently shaped the behaviour of its inhabitants. Regularly under foreign domination, the city experienced invasions, epidemics and deadly eruptions without ever losing its identity. Florian Villain explains that Naples was built on appearances to protect its culture, recalling that its streets are «like a theatre scene». According to the sociologist, we cannot penetrate the Neapolitans to day¹ without looking elsewhere than what they deign to show us; Jean-Luc Dubin, however, manages to detect what survives under the mask.

Click here to read our full interview with Jean Luc Dubin

¹This ritual was born in Naples. See the text of Florian Villain, Prayer for souls in Purgatory in Naples. The Word Given, Beyond the Give and Take”, MAUSS Review, Vol. 50, No. 2,


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Dimensions 20 × 28 cm

Jean-Luc Dubin

Conception graphique

Laurent Chevrier,




20x28cm, reliure à la Suisse. Marquage à froid de la couverture.


À la suisse

Langue des textes

Bilingue, français et italien