Celebrating the queer space as community

Italian photographer Valentina Neri’s intimate portrait series explores the familial feeling of Milan’s drag scene

By Corinna Burford    All images by Valentina Neri    Thursday 9 July, 2020   Short read

Shot over the course of two years, between 2014 and 2016, Valentina Neri’s Almanacco Toilet Club showcases the culture and vibrant characters of Milan’s Toilet Club Milano –one of the city’s most important queer nightclubs. ‘The club is in a basement and looks rough and unpolished, but despite this, the atmosphere inside is almost sophisticated,’ describes Neri. ‘Being there felt like being in a family. Everyone welcomed me immediately and gave me freedom, which made me feel comfortable from the start.’

From the dressing room to the dancefloor, Neri’s moody photos highlight the intricate details and glamorous looks of the club’s drag performers. ‘Among the best things about photographing the Toilet Club was the search for details that were lit up momentarily by the club’s colourful spotlight,’ she says. 

To celebrate Pride, Neri has shared some of her favourite photos from the collection, below. ‘This selection is like a summary of the whole project,’ says Neri. ‘It captures the memories of this special period in my life.’
People obscured by dark red light.
A person's face wearing a yellow wig and gold facepaint.
A person smoking in dark blue light.
A changing room.
A person wearing sunglasses in dark light.
Two people sitting in the dark.
A person with an animal mask in dark green light.
A person dancing in red light.
A person wearing suspenders in the dark.
A person obscured in dark green light.
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