Whoretography Contextual Statement

I would like to say thank you to all the brave and wonderful people who have sent images in or have agreed to be photographed as part of Whoretography.  A special thanks to those sex workers and clients who have agreed for me to photograph them during a session or send me images from their time spent together. I am aware that I occupy a position of privilege by being privy to such an intimate private experience. So, thank you for allowing me to bring this private experience into the public domain.

For those of you who are new to the Whoretography Cause, I have posted an Artist Contextual Statement below.

 

I am a Documentary Photographer, Masters Student and Sex Work Activist interested in challenging the victim centered nature of sex worker imagery online and how photography is instrumental in the war against sex workers.   I want to challenge the prevailing ideology of sex-work and present to the viewer an alternative perception of the industry and its female participants -  normally obscured by one particular, narrow version of  feminism,  by anti sex-work rhetoric and by modern western cultural attitudes towards women’s bodies and sex.   

My work is aimed at stopping the over-simplification of the lives of sex workers, and to challenge current imagery  that encourages the sense that the only way of interpreting their lives is to see them as ripe for 'rescue.' .  In the war on sex work, photography silences the intentions, actions and feelings of  sex workers  and serves to make  their lives more precarious . This narrow and selective representation of male oppression reproduces a politics of pity embedded in the visual representation of sex workers. This visual representation suggests only pity makes sense as a political, social and cultural response.

Further to this, the transaction of sex is dehumanised in the public gaze and robbed of intimacy. If, as Lindsay Smith suggests “the photographic record is an agent in the collective fantasy of family cohesion” then documenting commercial intimacy is the visual record of the death of that marital fantasy.  Extra marital commercial sex is Barthes time defeated. Documenting images of clients with sex workers should provoke the same feeling of loss and mourning as when looking at the man's wedding images.