Director and Photographer Jess Kohl, signed to the PRETTYBIRD UK Roster, has released a series of photographs featuring the gender non-conforming community in Naples, Italy. Titled ‘Queens of Scampia’, the images are published in the 10th Anniversary issue of Twin Magazine
, which has the theme of community.
The intersection of gender non-conformity, religion and culture is a theme that Jess Kohl continually returns to as a point of interest in her work. This interest took her to Naples, in search of one of the oldest recorded communities of gender queerness in history - the Femminielli. Kohl’s series ‘Queens of Scampia’ offers a glimpse into the microcosm of the Neopolitan trans community, where gender non-conformity, religion, history -and organised crime - exist side by side.
Jess Kohl explains: “I wanted to find out if this section of society still existed, and if so, what was its place in a staunchly Catholic environment. What I discovered was a culture of acceptance and freedom - a historic attitude that has bled down through generations in the Campania region. My research led me to Scampia, a suburb on the outskirts of Naples, were many Neapolitans dare venture. Neglected by authorities and mainstream society, this is where the personalities that interested me most called home. Rampant with Camorra (mafia) activity, the infamous and brutal ‘Veils of Scampia’ became my backdrop for my time in Naples. Here, I met a group of powerful trans women, who have formed tight bonds with one another, and their wider community.”