“Sin Hombre” | By Cristina Vatielli
“In the shadows of a small bedroom, legs intertwine with crumpled sheets of a bed to be shared: they love each other and will love each other forever, until death do them part”. What may seem like a sweet convivial situation between two spouses, in late 19th century Spain was considered an object of outrage, an indignity indigestible by the solemn Catholic Church if performed by two people of the same sex… but what could be so terrifying about love?
Sin Hombre is a free reconstruction of a love that is as sincere as it is impossible. Elisa Sanchéz Lorica and Marcela Garcìa Ibeas were forced to conceal their relationship within the four walls of their home, far from the inquisitive gaze of a purely male-dominated society. In the face of their parents’ attempts to separate them and the murmurs of the town, the two women responded with courage and cunning, finding a way to remain close: Elisa disguised herself as Mario, the man who would marry Marcela in 1901, in an officially consecrated marriage that was never annulled by the Church. The project aims to highlight the courage of these two women who fought for the freedom to love each other, a freedom that even today seems not to be so obvious. Fear of the unknown is a story that knows no age, the result of a limited vision of the world: when will we really overcome it?
Cristina Vatielli (b. Rome) is an Italian photographer. After graduating from the Scuola Romana di Fotografia in 2004 she started as a photography assistant and has subsequently specialized in post-production working with Paolo Pellegrin and other prominent photographers. She went on to producing her projects rooted in deep research with historical-documentary approach. Since 2006 she has been working on Exilio de dentro, a project exploring the historical memory of the Spanish Civil War.
Vatielli continued to deepen her documentary language, producing several reportages and contributing to Italian and international magazines. The encounter with the Finnish photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen in 2008 represented a meaningful exchange and led her to the exploration of the self- portrait technique. From that pivotal moment self-portrait has become the means of telling universally inspiring stories. In 2016 she realized Le Donne di Picasso, a series of reenacted self-portraits that give a voice to the suffering of eight women who had loved Pablo Picasso. This work marks the beginning of the collaboration with the cinema costume designer Lisangela Sabbatella, leading to the formation of a small team of professionals towards deepening the language of the mise-en- scène, something that Cristina adopted in the years of early training as a photographer.
Photo Essay edited by Alejandra Martínez Moreno