The Egon project

The Egon project, photo essay by Sara Casna

Transsexual: it is not easy explaining a word buried in commonplaces. A term which means half-existence, divided in two parts as the pit of a peach just cut. Or as two parallel lines which will never meet. Not even to infinity. Because being a transsexual means dark paths, car beacons, or worse, the neon light at the police station, ready to give the third degree on everywhy and everyhow.
It also means prostitution, vice, sickness, social disease. Words which scare the most of us, but which shield uncomfortable suit in whom we are forced to live and which almost no one can understand. And it is enough a breast with a protrusion in excess where the sun doesn’t shine to be stabbed and to be tagged as diverse. And to pour again on the streets in order to satisfy a primordial sexual instinct, and dress up in frustrating and smelly love stories.

But when a house-mother, a wife, carries a fake penis to put between her legs, then everything is different, bigger, even more difficult to talk out. And fear takes control, dejection takes everything without leaving air to breathe.
“Tostrex” shouts the flacon of gel testosterone that everyday Egon has to spread on his belly. Two scars who cut his chest, red, deep, in order to give away that womanliness given by an unfair and partisan god.
His story gives away commonplaces telling the difficult path of transsexuality which is unhinged from all its medical theories that want to give a clinical definition.
The photo collection accurately guards a mother’s emotions, reveals the role of a lover and a partner, discloses its wounds, its tears dropped during a neverending fight against society that refuses to admit gender identity as one untie from biological sex.

Egon and I met in summer 2011, at the time he still lived with his husband and his two children in a farm few kilometers from Pisa.
He was attending his last psychology sections and he was soon to be started to an hormonal therapy to face the long path who led him to being a man.
I supported his path for more than two years, together we have faced three movings, a break-up, a new love and a surgery. It has been a difficult experience, I was always uncertain whether to lower my lens in front of his intimacy, of his tears and difficulties, or to document them for the record. I found something in between, and that’s the result.

Q&A with Sara Casna

Photography is…
Photography is the means I use to get into people’s lives. It instructs me on human relations while I record what I live and what intrigues me. I choose the stories that somehow tell someone’s life, I live in movielike, and I let objects, light and home settings drag me. I choose social themes I want to share and spread.

Photography and writing…
Photography is my own way to tell and to write. I personally find it hard to divide these two faculties. I recently finished working on a photography book in which writing and photography communicate in the same pages. I could choose to give the words an exact corresponding image, but I preferred leaving the reader the right of its own imagination, choosing to tell – separately from the author – my view of the journey. Images can give a new narration, a new possible way of reading.

Who left the biggest impression on you?
I do not come with selected names, but of course I can tell that Francesca Woodman has surely influenced my female research, the raw vision of things, Nad Goldin has pushed me to search and to get into the most intimate and closer stories. Richard Avedon with his portraits, and then the whole new contemporary photography from the WPP circuit. Let’s say that American photography in general has been my major source of inspiration.

Tell us a little about yourself
I grew up with a father who loves travelling and taking photos, so I really could not help it! I got close to photography after I joined the photography school Fondazione Studio Marangoni in Florence. There, I understood what photography really means for me; they taught me how to work on a project, how to develop my ideas. Later, I got my degree at the Italian Institute for photography in Milan and, as I started working with photography, I understood what I wanted and did not want to do. Nowadays I study and work freelance in personal and collaborative projects.

Sara-CasnaSara Casna (website), 1981, Italy. I got my degree in 2010 at Istituto Italiano di Fotografia of Milan and I worked for two years as a news photojournalist. Presently I am working in social reportage and I collaborate with a photography association where I teach photography language. I have been setting up many exhibitions during photography Festivals in Italy with both personal and cooperative projects. This project was published on Stern Magazine.



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