Femminiello

“Human being is unique.
Each human is different from all the others we are surrounded from.”

We have hundreds of variables that make us the only one, even in relation to the members of our families, we might look similar but each of us has a very specific genetic structure that it will grow and change, defining a very unique path.
This peculiarity, this strong and singular identity, should be our main force, often instead this diversity is used to be pointed against us as the most lethal weapon.
We are going through an era signed by hate and violence, but never like today we should be use and open to diversity.
Not only the history should have taught it, today we have also technologies that have given to us the instruments to know what before we couldn’t see.

In the past twenty years the western society has grown much faster than was possibly imaginable at the beginning of the 90’s. We hear about climate change , technology booming, demographic growth and many other aspects characterizing our time, but what all of these parameters have in common is a  vertical growing toward recklessness and hate, and we experiencing the fastest growth in this sense ever happened in our history as far as we know.

Nowadays we devour without tasting, we look without observing, we talk without thinking and almost never we heed to our deepest necessities but rather we act following what otherwise would exclude us from a “well oiled” system.

Technology booming and  the action speed requested at any society level, made us always more distracted and approximate. Quantity and result are in our time preferable to quality and personal identity.

Starting from the previous premises, I started thinking how I could invert the longstanding trend and start working on that new asset with my photography, since that moment I made the traditions and customs of my country the main subject of my long term projects.
Femminiello is my new long term project, I started following the life of this very characteristic Neapolitan figure, because in my opinion they are giving me the best tools to show how my country is coloured and imperfect but absolutely unique.

The Neapolitan Femminiello to me is a symbol of resistance to the time and to the social and political changes, that have signed the last two decades.
I aimed to show how diversity and uniqueness could be a powerful tool to identify my country in a positive way. 
The Neapolitan Femminiello, is not only a folklore figure from the famous Quartieri Spagnoli, is an imposition of force and resistance toward the fight to be whoever we want to be in our society.
The Neapolitan Femminiello is a typical figure of the partenopea popular tradition, used to refer to an homosexual man with a dramatically feminine expressiveness. Often overlapped to the most common transgender reality, the Femminiello instead represent a strong cultural and social identity, still very much present in the urban Neapolitan fabric.
Some say that the Femminiello gave birth to what we call transgender today.

Some say that the Femminiello gave birth to what we call transgender today.
The Femmenella is a figure that start from the social fabric of the Quartieri Spagnoli, working class neighbourhood, where is a respected figure in a dangerous environment.
When I first met Tarantina, who is considered the last Femminiello, I was walking in the Quartieri Spagnoli and I saw her outside her door, in this narrow street with lots of clothes hung from one building to another. She started talking to me in Neapolitan, she was smiling at me, teasing on me and probably also provoking, but as she told me once, when you do this job for so long you are familiar only with one way of behaving.
Then I met her friends, all of them living in the same street, they showed me their pictures of when they were young and beautiful, partying in the neighbourhood with the soccer players of Napoli. There was Maradona with them. That day I understood that in that street there was that humanity, that unique life that I was looking for. 
We have spent together only 6 days, they told me about their meeting with famous actors, church figures and politicians during their time in Rome in the late 60’s, the time of “Bella Vita”. They told me about their love, about the prostitution and about the fight and the violence suffered to be accepted.
This is an ongoing project, started this year and that will continue until I will feel that love in their diversity.