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(adj, feminine, female. The word is normally used on its own in Italian to distinguish the female team of a club from the men’s)

Femminile is an ongoing project that follows Italy’s female national rugby team during training sessions, matches and retreats.

As Sofia - one of my closest friends - is part of the team, the project started as casual portraits of her on and off the field. This naturally developed into a more complex experience as in March 2019 I got the chance to follow the team during the retreat before its last Six Nations match of the year.

Trying to get away from typical sports photography, I’m not focusing much on the game per se, but I give more attention to small gestures, objects, rituals; mixing portrait, landscape and still life to convey an intimate image of the women that are part of the team and celebrating their differences, their strength, and resilience in a game that is typically considered for men and where women players are ofter stereotyped as masculine.

This first series stands alone, capturing a memorable result for Italy, as the team won its last match against France, ranking second in the tournament for the first time in history.

The girls’ season is now suspended, and my project on hold: the COVID-19 outbreak has stopped this year’s Six Nations tournament and all other activities. Matches are postponed until further notice. Like other international-level athletes, the girls will need to continue their training how they can, knowing they will be back on the rugby field and will need to be ready, but without a clear idea of when this will be.