Alias, in Alessandro Ummarino’s photographs

ALIAS – Stella – stampa da negativo bianco e nero cm 40×26

by Laura Luppi


Alias, changing one’s name but using both of them, because gender identity sometimes passes through dysphoria.
Sexual orientation has nothing to do with the need to identify as the gender opposite to one’s biological sex, and not even the social and economic background, origin  or age.
Culturally we have grown accustomed to the phenomenon of transvestism (whose origins date back to the ancient times) associated with the stereotype of drag performers and artists, but photographer Alessandro Ummarino wants to explore a topic about which there hasn’t been much discussion so far:  being a man in all conventional respects during the day (in the workplace, daily activities) and transforming into a woman at night (often in night clubs, even if this only applies to their appearance). This often leads to an overlapping  of social roles, in most cases not publicly declared, made of taboos within the family, suitcases and locked cabinets. Secrecy contrasts the strong visual impact of the performance dresses, make-up, wigs and all the accessories which play a decisive role not only in the final result of the transformation but also in the transformation itself.
And the dressing is precisely the moment Ummarino captures and documents, his protagonists being ordinary people, intimately portrayed in their house and for this reason paradoxically without veils and masks. The photographer, with his professional approach, puts to one side any personal judgement concentrating on his role as an artist, thus giving space to the beholder’s emotions  and subjective judgements,  provided that these latter ones are freed from the chains of prejudice. As already said, transsexuality, gender orientation and stage performance do not complete an aspect of the transformism, which is the essence of this project,  named Alias, that mainly focuses on the most human aspect of this phenomenon, that is on the changing of the outward appearance which links a man and his alter ego.
Alessandro Ummarino is a professional photographer. He has worked as a fashion and advertising photographer and as a freelance photographer for the Turin-based press agency LaPresse. As an artist he has developed several projects, whose common thread is the exploration of the conflict in its multiple and possible expressions.  The mental approach of his photography leads him to relate to the subjects he deals with in a reflective manner, and not only through a mere instinctual experience which is quite common when using the photographic medium. Among his recent works there is Palinsesti dal carcere (Programme schedules from prison), an interesting path through the cells and among the inmates of the prison in Bollate, near Milan.


ALIAS – Stella – stampa da negativo bianco e nero cm 26×40


ALIAS – Eva – stampa da negativo bianco e nero cm 34×48


ALIAS – Carmen – stampa da negativo bianco e nero cm 40×26


ALIAS – Alexandra – stampa da negativo bianco e nero cm 26×40


ALIAS – Alexandra e Chiara – stampa da negativo bianco e nero cm 40×26


ALIAS – Carmen – stampa da negativo bianco e nero cm 40×26


ALIAS – Hellen – stampa da file digitale cm 26×40


ALIAS – Jenny – stampa da negativo bianco e nero cm 40×26


ALIAS – May Day – stampa da negativo bianco e nero cm 26×40

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