This Whoretography blog is many things to me. Its without doubt my passion. Its a living document. It evolves and changes over time along side my understanding of photographic theory. It is very much part of my MA. It really is the MA if I am honest with myself. I am required to document my readings, research and thoughts to evidence my project and to demonstrate I understand my work.
I really want it to be so much more. I want it to thrive beyond the MA.
A photograph is rarely just a photograph. The same can be said of photobooks. Its important to understand. This is why I blog my random thoughts, incomplete ideas and passionate ramblings. So I would like to do something wonderful with this site, I just don't know what that is yet. I hope its a safe space to start the discussion about the consequences of demeaning images have to the safety and well being of sex workers.
My intention for this blog is for it to be unscripted. Far from an academic paper, and I do not wish it to take that form. I'll save that for the dissertation. I want to avoid words like vision, visuality scopic regime ocularcentrism.
I don't want to bore anyone with discussions of visual culture and photographic theory. This distracts from the key thought behind Whoretogaphy sex worker imagery matters. It matters beyond the realm of the internet. The social effects of ill informed sex worker imagery can be devastating to the lives of sex workers.
There are, of course any number of discussions we should be having surrounding the complexities of deconstructing the photographic image of a sex worker. We need to have these discussions.
We have reduced the world of sex work into visual terms. The internet is now the very public sphere of what was once a private world. Men pick apart sex worker images as if they understand what they are seeing. Women shame other women for acting the whore in photographs. This saddens me, and makes me angry. There is a visual war raging against the lives and bodies of sex workers. If we don't address this now, the visual culture and control of sex work imagery will be lost to the prohibitions.
The words hooker, whore, prostitute, slut, prossie, cunt are nothing with out the visual cliché that conveys these terms. There is a difference between what we see of sex workers, how sex workers are visually constructed and the reality of sex work.
When we talk of exclusionary feminists we often think of their ability to conflate child sexual exploitation with adult consensual intimacy. They do this with photography. Prohibitionists are notoriously good at dropping seen and known into the visual conversation. When they produce anti sex work propaganda, they are really saying, Look at this photographic constructed and manipulated truth! Do you see? See what I mean? Simple visual tactics to silence the voices of sex workers. Its not visual truth. The war on sex work has become what Guy Debord describes 'a society of spectacle' and whilst I may be somewhat liberal with his intent, sex workers are imprisoned in the internet, a vision machine that shapes the visual culture and understanding of their work and bodies.
The photographic challenge for sex work is to be able to distinguish between real images and the unreal. We need to make sex worker images more reflective of reality not prohibitionist morality.