Ancora più Vicino (Even Closer)

Even Closer

The idea of this photo reportage arose when observing the people in my residential quarter in Milan between October 2015 and February 2016.

I lived in Via dei Transiti, a vivacious quarter, which is famous for its provocative nature, numerous ethnic restaurants, and the large community of transgender people. I was fascinated by the transgender community. I wanted to meet them, to talk with them. I had so many questions to ask.

This how Ancora più vicino was born.

After a few weeks spent meeting various people from the transgender community, I decided to go further. My aim was to show a deeper perspective of the transsexual world beyond the streets and the prostitution. For this reason, I contacted the Milanese Association for Transgender, Sportello Trans di ALA Milano Onlus, where I met Chris,Lory, Bia, Samantha, Gianmarco, and Daniela. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the association and its members for their support throughout the duration of my project.

I do not think that this is a documentary about transsexuality.

I believe it to be, my first experience in which, during five months, I got close to a world that, so far, has been unknown to me. With the intention of telling different stories, from different people, each one unique, and with one thing in common: their transsexuality. This project aims to shed light on the lives of the people within one of the most misunderstood demographics of our society. Their lives have revolved around pain and suffering, but also contain great stories and victories over a society that too often refuses to welcome the light brought by our differences and diversities.

The driving force behind this work is love. Love for the unknown, for a new city, for a new quarter and its inhabitants, who allowed me to get even closer.

I believe, on some level, we will all be able to identify with the individuals I have photographed; maybe not in their sexual identity, but in the fundamental pursuit of human connection, closeness, and how we want to be perceived by others. Today, I am still passing through Via Padova where I always meet Nadia and Veronica, with their friends, who welcome me and my camera with open arms.

Nadia in Via Padova: “ I think women like us less than men because they are jealous. We can be more beautiful than them.”
Nadia in Via Padova:
“ I think women like us less than men because they are jealous. We can be more beautiful than them.”
Nadia, talking about Jehovah. She is a strong believer.
Nadia, talking about Jehovah. She is a strong believer.

 

Nadia (left) and Stefania her friend, in Via Padova, Milano
Nadia (left) and Stefania her friend, in Via Padova, Milano

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Nadia
Nadia
Nadia and friends, sitting near the Parco Trotter, Milan
Nadia and friends, sitting near the Parco Trotter, Milan

 

Nairobi (right) and her boyfriend. Nairobi work as a housekeeper. Ambrodgio (on the left) her fiancé appreciates the fact that she does not prostitute herself. He considers himself as an heterosexual. He said to have fallen in love with her; as for him she is as beautiful as a real woman. They have been together for a year and a half .
Nairobi (right) and her boyfriend. Nairobi work as a housekeeper. Ambrodgio (on the left) her fiancé appreciates the fact that she does not prostitute herself. He considers himself as an heterosexual. He said to have fallen in love with her; as for him she is as beautiful as a real woman. They have been together for a year and a half .
Veronica in a Peruvian restaurant of Via Padova: “Society judges us badly but we are like that, we are trans. One says that God created mankind and created them male and female. But what happens when you are born feeling this way?”
Veronica in a Peruvian restaurant of Via Padova: “Society judges us badly but we are like that, we are trans. One says that God created mankind and created them male and female. But what happens when you are born feeling this way?”
Veronica and a friend from the neighbourhood
Veronica and a friend from the neighbourhood
Nadia (on the left) and Rebbecca, a friend who often comes to Via Padova to greet Nadia. Nadia : “I have all kind of clients: from married men to single men. There was a time, I even had couples”
Nadia (on the left) and Rebbecca, a friend who often comes to Via Padova to greet Nadia.
Nadia : “I have all kind of clients: from married men to single men. There was a time, I even had couples”
Lory on the right with her daughter on the left, in Piazza Duomo, Milano: “My youngest daughter alters the names “Daddy” or “Lory” according to what she needs the most, either my masculine or feminine side”
Lory on the right with her daughter on the left, in Piazza Duomo, Milano:
“My youngest daughter alters the names “Daddy” or “Lory” according to what she needs the most, either my masculine or feminine side”
Chris, a drama student: “Since I have started to feel good with myself, the relationship with my mother has improved a lot and it was with an immense emotion that on my birthday, after my surgeries interventions and obtaining my new official documents that I received a birthday card mentioning: “Best wishes for your first birthday as Christian”.
Chris, a drama student: “Since I have started to feel good with myself, the relationship with my mother has improved a lot and it was with an immense emotion that on my birthday, after my surgeries interventions and obtaining my new official documents that I received a birthday card mentioning: “Best wishes for your first birthday as Christian”.
Samantha works in an hospital. The first time I met her she was euphoric. She had vivid and shining eyes with the will to yell at the world that she was in love.
Samantha works in an hospital. The first time I met her she was euphoric. She had vivid and shining eyes with the will to yell at the world that she was in love.
Samantha: “I want to do so much for the transsexual community. I have been lucky. I have never suffered from any kind of discrimination.”
Samantha: “I want to do so much for the transsexual community. I have been lucky. I have never suffered from any kind of discrimination.”
Gianmarco, a lawyer:  -“What has helped me a lot is to talk a lot about it." Gianmarco a little bit before his transition from female to male:  -"Mum, I can lose you but from today I cannot lose myself anymore.”  Gianmarco’s niece:  -“Uncle, you have to come to my school because my schoolmates do not believe that you used to be a woman.”
Gianmarco, a lawyer:
-“What has helped me a lot is to talk a lot about it.”
Gianmarco a little bit before his transition from female to male:
-“Mum, I can lose you but from today I cannot lose myself anymore.”
Gianmarco’s niece:
-“Uncle, you have to come to my school because my schoolmates do not believe that you used to be a woman.”

 

Bia, Stylist who worked for famous Designers, in her apartment in Milano: “I have been living a war in my head.”
Bia, Stylist who worked for famous Designers, in her apartment in Milano: “I have been living a war in my head.”
Bia in her kitchen, she has three cats and she deeply loves them.
Bia in her kitchen, she has three cats and she deeply loves them.
Daniela, Fashion Designer: “Me too I got into prostitution. When I was 17 years old, I asked my dad some help before to end up in the streets of Rome and he answered me : Me, I do not accept you and I am not giving you anything, go and be a whore. This is what I did.”
Daniela, Fashion Designer: “Me too I got into prostitution. When I was 17 years old, I asked my dad some help before to end up in the streets of Rome and he answered me : Me, I do not accept you and I am not giving you anything, go and be a whore. This is what I did.”
Daniela in her bathroom
Daniela in her bathroom
Paloma in Via Padova
Paloma in Via Padova

 

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