Becoming Simone, by Alessia Bernardini, with the help of Simone GrippiPosted: July 11, 2014
Yesterday was the first anniversary of this blog, and I think that would be nice to celebrate with the wonderful story of Simone.
Photobooks have recently gained a new status in the art world. They have become a piece of art in themselves. Some books printed in limited edition have reached some incredible prices on the second hand market. The common point in these books is that they tell a strong story.
This is exactly the case of the book « Becoming Simone ». A square book of 21 x21 cm, 64 pages on two interlaced booklet. Print run of 220 plus 30 special edition with a print.
So what is this book about ? As suggested by the title, Becoming Simone is the story of Simone, a man born in a woman body with the former name of Angela. From his early childhood, he knew there has been a mistake with his body, feeling ashamed of it. At the end of the teenage years, he/she was diagnosed a Gender Identity Disorder (GID) which allows him the possibility of sex reassignment surgery. The cost of such a surgery was prohibitive, and Simone had to wait until the age of 51 to start the process.
The book is composed of photographs of Simone nowadays, made by Alessia, mixed with archive photographs of Simone’s life. We discover him in the body of a young Angela, and all along the book, some sentences explain us Simone’s feelings with an incredible honesty.
There is no pathos in the book, we follow Simone’s fight for life, and what emerges is the incredible taste of life of Simone. As we enter his intimacy, we understand, as he stated, that it is more important to reach what we believe in, even if it is only for a few years (he always keep in mind that he may die from each surgeries), than living in a world of lies, which is what he thought about his former life.
At the end of the book, we discover, enclosed in an envelope, a letter by his psychiatrist summarizing his complete story.
This book is incredibly touching and is a true refreshment in the actual debate about genders. And the great quality of Alessia, is that she turned Simone into a friend of us whose we may care. One of the most beautiful book published this year !
Copyrights all images by Alessia Bernardini and Simone Grippi.