Lorenzo Castore – Glitter Blues
Blow Up Press 2021
Discover the world of Franchina, Cioccolatina, Lulù, Ramona, Brigida, Ornella, Monica the Viking, Fiorella, Rosa, Ambra and Graziella – Sicilian transvestites living/working in Catania’s neighbourhood San Berillo, that has always been the red-light district.
“The girls’ neighbourhood was set in the city in such a way that it seemed like a separate territory, like an island without the sea around it or a castle without fortifications. After entering one of the alleyways of entry around the perimeter it feels like you are closed in, watched over and shielded. It’s like entering a private village that almost resembles an open-air home. In those four streets intimacy lives on the thresholds of the ground-floor single-rooms that open onto the street, and the invitation to be swallowed by it all is what defines the very nature of the place.”*
What started by accident in 2004, has become a long-term relation between Lorenzo Castore and the girls. Each time he was in Catania, he visited them in their neighbourhood and chatted with them between the clients. “The relationship was friendly but intermittent, superficial and light, as was normal for it to be. I got on with them but I had no intention of photographing them with a project in mind.”
Impressed by the scale and atmosphere of the Saint Agata festival, Castore started to visit Catania more often: “The pagan spirit of this loud exhibition of abandon to the mysterious, combined with the image of the humiliated young girl, tortured and amputated in her most symbolic physical expression of femininity, created in me a powerful emotional short-circuit that made me associate the virgin to the girls, to whom nature had not granted breasts but excess genitals, which had caused, in spite of themselves, a conflicting personal identity and too often had left them as objects of bigoted discrimination.”