Murder #20, Samuel Guidera, Sydenham
Samuel Guidera, 24, was stabbed to death in a suspected robbery on Saturday, 12 February, 2011. He was attacked 200 metres from Penge East station in south London as he walked to see a friend. Guidera was attacked near a bus stop on Newlands Park. His wallet was taken as he bled to death in the street. A passersby found Guidera injured at the junction with Bailey Place and at first thought he had been involved in a road traffic accident. A postmortem later found he suffered a single stab wound to the heart. The case remains unsolved.
One of my intentions for the project was that I would photograph landscapes of the murder sites I visited. I would step back far enough to take in the surrounding area in the hope that something about the landscape would give clues and meaning to the photograph. But with the site of Samuel Guidera’s murder I was drawn to the flower memorial and in particular the white sheet of paper with the words written ” Give Yourself Up You Coward, R.I.P Sam, Love” The murder to this day remains unsolved and the sign seemed a premonition of that. Looking back at the photographs from the shoot I shot very few landscapes. Instead I focused on the memorial of flowers that also included a Crystal Palace FC jersey with a button of Samuel’s face on it. But it was the handwritten sign i kept focusing back on. Guidera’s murder was the first I encountered that seemed to be random. He was the victim of a robbery that led to murder. It is the kind of death that we all fear, the kind in which we have no control, a kind of urban fear we all share. We never truly believe that those we know are more likely to kill us. We all believe that if murder were to find us it would be a matter of bad luck, random in its nature. Unfortunately this is not the case. Murders in which the victim did not know the assassin are in the minority.