Want your client voice heard?

Are you a customer of escorts/sex workers  who advertise on line or via apps? Do you purchase webcamming services? Are you a customer of a professional dominatrix?

 

Please Help Us Out & Contribute to an important study on internet based sex work

 

The  research project ‘Beyond the Gaze’ is the largest study to date of internet based sex work and is being carried out by an experienced team of researchers at Leicester and Strathclyde Universities, who have many years experience of carrying out research with people working in adult services/sex industry including their customers.   It is a legitimate and important UK wide study which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and is exploring the use of online and digital technologies in the sex industry.   Go to our website to find out more about the research and the team who are carrying it out http://beyond-the-gaze.com/   As part of this research we are seeking the views and experiences of customers  through an online survey which should take no longer than 10 minutes.  This survey is designed for customers of  all genders and sexual orientations.   The survey does not collect any identifying information, it is completely anonymous, has permission from the University ethics committee and we work within strict ethical guidelines to protect the privacy and anonymity all people taking part in our research.

 

Please go to the survey at the following link;https://leicester.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/customersbeyondthegaze

 

The survey is open until  31st August 2016. We’d really value you input! Thanks for considering this and hopefully for taking part.

 

If you would like more information about the survey or the project please feel free to contact: Professor Teela Sanders on tlms1@leicester.ac.uk

Project Mention.

Whoretography scored a mention at an international conference on media and communication held last Saturday. Whoretography was discussed in relation to sexual marketing on the Las Vegas strip. Some of the points raised were the dangers of the continued use of the hyper-sexualised images of sex workers that lead to violence and stigma and that sexual marketing is about the spectacle, the illusion, the mirage of sex and very little to do with actually selling sex.

This is how Whoretography started (part one)

Whoretography began because I had a crush on a bloke. Yup.  No surprises there. 

 

It's all because of a man. Well, not entirely but he was at the beginning of my Whoretography thought process.  His penis was inspired.  In more than one way.   I wanted to photograph him naked. I wanted to photograph us naked.  Mostly I wanted to photograph him naked whilst he was fucking me.  I had no intention of sharing the images with anyone except him. I had no idea how I was going to hold the camera. I wanted to chronical us together and then tuck the photographs away in a box on a shelf next to the one marked Summer, Paris 2008. He was that glorious belle époque age of a man, 36. There is something incredibly sexy about a man at that age.  He just happened to be very photogenic.  Naked in my bed and a willing co-conspirator.

 

What started out as a post fucking (literally)  idea in 2014 has evolved into something somewhat remarkable.  We can all thank a certain strapping gentleman for that.  I was laying next to him one morning and just blurted out I want to photograph clients and sex workers together.  It was at the start of our sexual obsession with each other.  I did not have the balls to say I want to photograph us fucking. To bold perhaps. Instead, I said I want to photograph clients and sex workers.  I quipped that I'd call myself the Whoretographer. We laughed. He left and I thought to myself, well actually that's not a bad an idea.

 

We did,  of course, experiment with photography during the course of our over sexed, ill-conceived and entirely selfish affair.  He would agree and beg to be photographed.  Mainly whilst drunk.  Sexting me from his £1.3 million marital Battersea abode.  The baby asleep upstairs.   A whiskey in one hand. His cock in the other.  On more than one occasion he would come over and find cameras bracketed to the bedroom wall.  That night on that couch will always be a grainy set of prints. 

 

I wanted to capture the authentic intimacy we had.   That undeniable connection of two strangers taken out of context. Plonked naked next to each other for two hours every week for 3 years. I was over shooting weddings and wanted to shoot him.

To understand wedding photography you need to understand one thing. That you are creating the illusion of happiness, the falsehood of togetherness in one breathtakingly stunning set of images.  Photography as an agent for the  illusion of intimacy.  

If wedding photography is the illusion of faked intimacy then the antidote to that surely was to photograph married men with sex workers seeking the authentic intimacy that was faked in their wedding photographs. Sounds logical to me.

End of part one.

 

In Plain Sight : Sex Worker Participants Required

As sent to Whoretography

My name is Raven, I've been an advocate for sex worker health, safety and recognition for many years in Canada. I used to run a sex worker organization called PACE Society in Vancouver and I coordinated the BC Coalition of Experiential Communities, a regional sex worker research and advocacy group. My most recent advocacy project was Hooker Monologues, performed March 2016 in Canada. I'm now at the University of York doing my PhD and I'm proud to be on the board of ScotPEP, a sex worker organization. See my Bio https://www.york.ac.uk/sociology/our-staff/students/raven-bowen/

My past academic work was about how people transition in and out of sex work, deal with 'whore stigma' and challenge those who see sex work only as harm. I highlight that some people are not entering or leaving sex work, instead they find ways to balance jobs in both sex work and square (non sexual) work at the same time. I call this 'duality.' 

 I'm seeking participants to interview to explore how people manage information about themselves, decide who to disclose to and who not to, carve out different work identities, keep secrets, switch back and forth between jobs, and how experiences in either job to helps or hinders performance in the other. We will discuss the benefits and challenges of working in this very versatile way and discover tips and strategies to help others who do the same. 

More details are on the project blog https://dualitystudy.blogspot.co.uk/ but here are the basics:

 Participants must:

·         be over 18 years old

·         work in the off-street sex industry

·         hold at least one non sex work paid job (all paid work included, casual, part or full-time,  self-employed, etc.)

·         live and work in the UK and

·         have relevant experience juggling both kinds of work

Other info:

·         This study is open to all genders and nationalities. Since everyone has such busy lives, I am very open to doing interviews over the phone or via Skype™, or face to face where possible.

·         Participants will receive a £25 Amazon gift card or an electronic Amazon gift card if you've done a phone or Skype™ interview as a thank you for providing your insights.

·         This study received ethics approval from the University of York on May 13th 2016 and I will do everything possible to make sure your participation is safe. I will not collect or disclose personal information about participants outside of an email address to send gift cards as needed.

The goal of the study is to expand the ways that people define and describe sex work and sex workers. Some discourses discuss sex work as something that someone is 'trapped' in or has 'survived', or as something that people are either ‘in’ or ‘out’ of. There is very little academic work on strategic involvement in sex work and few studies challenge mainstream notions of who a sex worker is or can be.

I argue that sex workers participate in all kinds of skilled work across jobs in sex work and square work and unless outed, most people can be in a room with or work with sex workers and not know it...and for good reason! The violence of stigma perpetrated by mainstream society keeps people in hiding, hence the title of the study 'In Plain Sight: an examination of 'duality', the simultaneous involvement in sex work and square work.' 

This study will be a way to talk about duality safely and challenge the simplistic understandings of people who do both kinds of work and the biased representations sex workers.

 If you're interested, email me at dualitystudy@gmail.com

Showing Prostitutes The Green Light To Leave ...

I have seen a lot of disturbing content in the last 18 months.  I am sure you can imagine.  I don't need to show the graphic examples.  Everything from child abuse victims to privileged white women dragging out images of so called prostituted ethnic minorities reminiscent of saving the natives colonialism.    

I have seen it all.  I thought I had seen it all.  It saddens me that I have to write this post. I was actually filled with rage when I saw the image in question.  I am a vocal opponent of the commonly used police tactic of using forced portraits of sex workers.   Its an effective strategy for the continued oppression of sex workers and lets be honest,  nothing convinces the middle class masses they are safe more than a photograph of police in action.   I am continually amazed  at the ways state agencies wield photography to degrade sex workers and how the general public suck this up as proof absolute of effective policing.  

The mass circulation of a  photograph of a vulnerable woman being arrested makes the chattering classes of a  neighbourhood undergoing gentrification feel less vulnerable.   Picking up the human filth from the pristine over priced streets. The illusion of safety.  The propaganda of gentrification.  Police view sex workers as devalued commodities and  extend this commodification to their visual representation.  When a sex worker encounters law enforcement they are robbed of their photographic representation, ownership transfers to the state. These stolen images subsequently  inform the social landscape influencing draconian legislation that renders the sex worker dehumanised. 

A few weeks back Hackney Police - Brownswood SNT circulated a photograph  to 5000 residents.  The photograph depicted an easily identifiable vulnerable member of the local community being arrested for street walking.  The police made no efforts to conceal the woman's face. Why would they? This was an ideal public relations moment for the Hackney Police.    The photograph was accompanied by an article proudly boasting of moving these degenerate prostitutes out of the neighbourhood.    If this is Hackney Police taking a holistic approach to sex work  then I'd hate to witness the inhumane approach.   

I am grateful that Hackney Police do not carry guns given how unethically they wield cameras.

The photo is below.  I have crudely edited the women in question out. Took me less than a minute. If only Hackney Police payed the woman the same courtesy. There are other ways to visually demonstrate a crack down on prostitution. I am at a loss to think why the go to image was one of shame.  They effectively outed a sex worker to 5000 residents.   

I find many aspects of the publication of this image questionable.   Not sure what bothers me more. The blatant lack of consequential thinking on behalf of Hackney Police or the gleeful shaming of a sex worker.  It reminds me of a hunter holding up the dead bloodied carcass of his unfortunate catch.

 

Images have a traceable life path.  All Images are networked.  This image will never be out of circulation. Despite Hackney Police deleting the offending image, the photograph  is now on a journey.  It will proliferate online. Delivered to new viewers via social media platforms. The transmission and reception of this image is now unstoppable.  Hackney Police have robbed this woman of her photographic agency for a cheap publicity back slapping stunt.    In poor image selection, Hackney Police have demonstrated their pathological disregard for the safety and well being of sex workers.  The journey of this ill conceived photograph will be endless and will continue long after this poor woman has been forced out of her community. 

I've printed it. Its pinned to my wall as a daily reminder as to why photography matters in the fight for sex worker rights.  

 

 

Lets Celebrate!

Yay!  

Its happy dance time at Whoretography HQ because we have hit 3000 followers on the twitter. What  better way to celebrate than with the stereotypical pretty woman image that mocks photo editors for their lazy visual portrayal of sex workers. 

Happy Dance 3000 peeps!

Whoretography cited ...

Bending into a car window:
The media’s role in perpetuating stereotypes, stigma and the ‘discourses of disposability’ against sex workers

I am really pleased to see that Whoretography was cited at the Gender, Crime & media BSA seminar on June 8th at Birmingham City University.

Funding + Visual Activism

Its the curse of this project. 

The curse of any photographic art based project. For like sex work, many believe if you enjoy photography then you should give it away for free. Why do it for money?  To that I say.  Piss off and be silent!  Fucking idiots.

Now is not the time to discuss consent, enjoyment and the nightmare it must be to have a prohibitionist mind in the age of bodily autonomy and self determination.

Money. Its a daily struggle.

A struggle behind some of my most memorable twitter rants. Finding the money to turn this Whoretography caper into what I imagine it to be . A visual movement.   Photography as an agent for change.  A photographic movement in the fight for the human and labour rights of sex workers. A platform to call bullshit on the continued imprisonment of sex workers in a false visual cycle of oppression and hate.  Something, the salvation army has come to harness to the detriment of sex workers.  More about those uncharitable bastards later.

Right now this project is funded by donations. Very kind and much needed donations and through advance book sales.  It is also self funded but regrettably I can't keeping moving money around to help me channel this visual rage against oppression (and lets be honest, against blatant stupidity) into a worthy cause.

It's a fine balance between finding the money to pay for a self funded Masters Degree and potentially a PhD and the idea of calling it quits.   The books are almost finished, and I will be selling the polaroids from my polaroid project (more details to follow) and I am trying to hustle for grants and funding without appeasing to the 'oh lets rescue a whore narrative' that seems to mandatory when it comes to being awarded sex work (ohh sorry, the prostituted) project funding. 

If anyone has any ideas about how/where I can tap into funding sources, then please comment or ping me a DM or email.

Polaroids + Instagram

My cousin died of breast cancer at the age of 40. That really pissed me off. It royally pissed me off. She has gone from being a vibrant being to a mass produced generic Facebook wall where people continue to post messages of loss and good times. A place where I can read her last email to me, and mine to her where I say I will see her when I'm back. I never did see her again.  She still continues to pop into my timeline as a notification. She can't be dead. She lives on in Facebook. 

This makes me feel uncomfortable. Not sure how I feel about her Facebook account still being active but its not my call. Her children own that decision.  The children of the post industrial photographic print revolution.  They see her Facebook wall as a way to honour her.  I see the sadness in someone who once was being reduced to a digital image on a platform that may not exist in 20 years time.

As a photographer, as someone who knows the world of the image pre and post the digital age, as someone who constantly questions the archival state of the digital age we find ourselves in, I do not understand the need, the desire or the compelling nature to share images before we print them. 

I don't expect you to understand the pain and mental anguish I have about the loss of the print.  I am in a constant state of angst. I have said this before. We all end up just as a collection of photographs, my father did. I am thankful he did not end up as a Facebook wall and yes, its pisses me off when others post photos of him on my wall. He died in 1977. He has no place being Facebooked.

Its the height of photo rudeness in my book.

Inspired by the immortal nature of the print and trying to find a way to process the death of my cousin I started a polaroid wall. 18 months ago on the day she died I started sticking them to my wall.  I find the act of taking the photo, selecting them, taping them, arranging them and then standing back and looking at them therapeutic.

It gives me a moment of piece until I start re arranging them, straightening them. Taking more. Then the peace comes back and the process starts again.  Its an addiction I am not willing to stop.

 

I have 1000 polaroids on my wall. 

Nobody really looks at what they see. I know this to be true  by the number of people that glance at this wall but do not walk up to it and really look at it. Really see.  See the nakedness. The self reflection.  The sex workers. The fucking. The lovers. The self harm. The travel. The dead. The babies. The unborn.

In an effort to cure myself of this post industrial photographic revolution rage and sadness where the print has been rendered endangered I am posting one polaroid a day from my wall to my Instagram wall https://www.instagram.com/whoretographer

I do intend to turn them into a book alongside the vintage transparencies from my fathers camera of the 1960s and well, the state of the cock shot book but these are side projects hoping to be done by Christmas.

My need to finish this MA and well, find a funding source to eat trumps publishing these for now. Thank you for the donations and for buying my books.   You are keeping this project alive until I can find a funding source.

Paradigm Visuals

Regrettably due to recent personal circumstances I will no longer be speaking at this event.

I have been asked to give an informal talk at the Paradigm Visuals Event to be held at London South Bank University.  This is very much an event for undergraduate students to show case their work and and its an honour to be invited to speak at an event curated and organised by a group of talented photography undergraduate students. 

Paradigm Visuals is an undergraduate student-led photographic research programme with a focus on photography, exhibiting and publishing based at the School of Creative Arts, London South Bank University, UK.

From May 23rd – 27th Paradigm Visuals occupies a pop-up photobook space. The group undertook a 12 weeks research project exploring self-publishing as a means of approaching photography in the materiality of the book. 

Please go to their individual websites, and pay attention to their work.  You can find links to their websites on the Artists Talks page.

 Photography & Book by Amy Warwick - http://www.amywarwick.com/

Photography & Book by Amy Warwick - http://www.amywarwick.com/

You can register for the event here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/photobook-pop-up-shop-tickets-25533812320?ref=estw

I will be speaking on the subject of browsing and walking as photobook research methods and will discuss my belief that its imperative that photobook research material be included to form part of the final body of work.

Regrettably due to come recent personal circumstances ( just see my twitter feed if you are curious)  I will not be selling the books at the bookshop but will have sample copies available for viewing and discussing.

 

 

Remembering April Brogan ....

"To them, she wasn't a woman, She was a prostitute."

This is April Brogan. I love this photograph. The effortless simplicity of it. The beauty in our fleeting lives. The everyday ordinariness of it.  A fleeting moment captured.  Happiness that her children will be able to witness.  Photographs alter in meaning when you have a parent die when you are a child. Trust me, I know.

This is how April's family wanted her to be remembered.  Much different to the way the state of Florida would have her immortalised.

 

I circulate these images not to use death for publicity. Although, showing prohibitions the consequences of their fear mongering does pack of powerful visual punch on the twitter. It creates a discussion.   I have for 10 years been working as a commercial  photographer, I understand how to edit and curate images for maximum visual effect but I also have great fears about the capacity of the internet to be archival. The internet is not timeless. It is not an archival body of work. It has no stable properties that render images safe.  Images will be lost. Images are being lost. Constantly.  Peoples stories misplaced in a digital dark age that has rendered photographs more fragile than ever.

The photographs of deceased sex workers who have been killed by stigma are more fragile than ever. Buried in the internet. People don't go looking for them. Lost souls.  Imprisoned in the depth of a vision machine that will spit out their mug shots as a cautionary tale for good women contemplating going bad..

I am constantly bemused by the prohibitionists who dismiss the relevancy of photography to the sex work debate yet drag out images of the prostituted to tug at the heart strings and help fund the rescue industry. Journalists and book peddlers like Melissa Gira Grant who does not like to be called out when pro sex work feminists talk about selfies but fail to mention the underpinning photographic theory of the selfie.

 

Cleary, she does not understand photographic technique either. Over exposed photographs are a bit of a photo faux pas.

April's photograph resonated with me.  In fact, her photo caught my eye because she looks remarkably similar to a friend of mine. From a photo album circa 1994 and my first days of university. April's beaming promising smile could belong to that of my best mate, Kelly. The difference is of course, my friend Kelly is a stay at home mum and April, another unexplained death of a mother in jail. Well, we know that's not that case because if people could see April beyond her work as a sex worker then the death of this women would be worth investigating.  A mother dies in Jail and no one seems to care "To them, she wasn't a woman, She was a prostitute."

But its not my mate Kelly. No body likes to see sex workers smiling and happy. Nobody wants to believe sex workers can be loving caring mothers.  We all have a vices and ways of self medicating but that does not excuse the avoidable death of a women who happened to be a mother and sex worker.

 

She looks like a wonderful mother.  Her child looks loved and very much wanted and cared for. Daytona Beach Police had other photographic ideas though for the way she should be remembered. April Brogan, a 28-year-old from Palm Coast, Florida, and a mother to two young children died in custody after being arrested as part of an anti-prostitution sting, she was charged with "aiding/abetting/committing prostitution." and died in custody after they failed to provide her with adequate care and supervision.

This is the way Daytona Beach Police would have you remember April Brogan, and people wonder why I am so passionate about challenging the visual representation of sex workers.

Beyond the gaze + Whoretography

I am not to sure if you know but I am a research assistant with Beyond the Gaze which is looking into the sale of sex online in the 21st century.  I contribute to the mapping  by writing articles and posts photography. When I say photography, I mean all aspects of sex work photography. 

I am submitting something about Instagram + Sex Work, you can see it below.  Its a bit of a work in progress.  If you would like me to add anyting, then please just comment.

1) Prior to the post-industrial online digital photographic revolution sex work occupied private spheres hidden behind non-descript doorways. Visual marketing rarely existed and when it did, it was often confined to tart cards and books that documented the hidden world of carnival sex workers.

2)  Clients were not practised in the art of requesting (demanding perhaps) access to face photographs and sex workers rarely engaged in visually marketing. These private spaces remained photographically undocumented.  A world witnessed only by the participants. Nowadays with the advent of the internet, sex workers occupy public spaces. 

What once was a private has been dragged into a public sphere for all to see.  

3)  The web has brought massive change to the sex industry. As with many other industries the technology-led disruption has changed its fundamental economics. The easy availability of information on the Internet has revolutionised the industry’s marketing techniques and its verbal and visual vocabulary. Words can still matter and have their own allure but photographic images are now fundamental to the transaction

4)  This production of a visual working identity is now fundamental to the transaction of sex. Clients clearly make choices informed by them and sex workers spend time and effort arranging photographs. The true impact on the role photography plays in the transaction of commercial sex online has yet to be explored, but it is an undeniable truth that visual representation has revolutionised the sex industry.

5)  Like with all online businesses, sex workers have harnessed the power of the internet to ply their trade and build a unique sex work brand where platforms and websites act as shop fronts and window displays.  One-way sex workers do this is by use of the social media platform Instagram.  Instagram affords sex workers a free networking and advertising platform on which they have total control of their visual representation (within certain limitations).  It is now a standard tool when it comes to working in the sex industry.

6) It allows sex workers to create visual content in the form of video and photographs. To connect with clients by the taking and sharing of content.  Images can be shared publicly or privately and most importantly through a variety of other social networking platforms, such as Facebook and twitter.   Sex workers need only to post one image on Instagram and tag it with key words for it to be automatically shared across a number of networking and marketing platforms offering an instant visual connection with clients.

7) Instagram has harnessed the power of photographic nostalgia and human connection by the allowing users to create digital images reminiscent of pre digital retro prints.  This familiar sense to the images allows the viewer a more intimate connection.  This is important in sex work and the context of the girl friend experience.  Men are seeking intimacy not just the mechanics of sex. 

8)  The Instagram filter has reshaped the visual landscape of the internet and allows the person posting the images to set the tone of their self-representation and visual autonomy.  Two attributes that are key in the fight for sex worker rights.   Instagram allows sex workers to expressthemselves though visual self-determination and agency.

9)  Instagram builds  solidarity with other sex workers.  Working independently because of legislative impediments is an isolating experience.  Instagram allows sex workers to see into the lives of other stigmatised men, women and transgender individuals building trust and solidarity without falling foul of draconian legislation.

10) To build a community they are not excluded from. The wonderment of Instagram is the ability for communities to be created by the sharing of photographs.    This then becomes important in the fight for sex worker rights and activism.  Instagram allows sex workers to come together to push for change of the political landscapes that shapes their livelihoods and experiences.

11)  To fight stereotypical sex work imagery. 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.  There is a visual war raging against the lives and bodies of sex workers

12)  The derogatory misogynistic language that surrounds sex work is nothing without the visual clichés that conveys these terms.  Instagram gives a platform to sex workers to challenge the false visual constructions of their bodies and their work.

13)   As a more targeted form of visual marketing.  By spending time carefully selecting and crafting images to post on Instagram, sex workers are directly choosing their market and the type of client they wish to see. This is important with the rise of the girl friend experience and client demand for visual access to the lives of sex workers.   Instagram allows clients to buy into the experience they are purchasing, even if this one is a carefully crafted visual persona.

14)  Sex workers do however face arbitrary rules and regulations that limit their freedom of visual self-documentation and marketing techniques on Instagram.  Rules surrounding nudity are seen as hindering freedom of sexual expression and the indirect targeting of sex workers online to deny them access to public spaces and push them back into private worlds to be hidden and misunderstood.

 

 

 

 

 

Elusive Abstractions ...

I have learned how negatively impactful photography can be in presenting sex workers as different from and less than other people. This flows from "the power of photographs to capture elusive abstractions that one intuits before clearly understanding them" (The Tides of Mind)  Every sex worker is reduced to a few negative assumptions by the stereotypical images in anti sex work photography.
So why focus on this?  The reason is that all of the stereotyping is a kind of blindfold that enables many to ignore the fact that sex workers are first and foremost people, individual human beings like everyone else.
 

Remembering Hanna Karim - murdered by prohibitionist hate.

Warning:  Images of graphic violence are at the end of this post. I have included them after much deliberation and internal moral conflict but believe them to be necessary to the story of sex work stigma.  I use them in the correct photographic context. I do not believe them to be gratuitous.  If you disagree, please feel free to comment.

This Masters Degree has broken my heart on more than one occasion.

I cry more often than not. More often than the sarcastic banter on the twitter will lead you to believe. I cry at the socially acceptable violence that is committed against sex workers and then the victim blaming that follows. I cry at the self serving agenda of the moralistic who seek to have sex workers trapped in violence by state sanctioned draconian legislation.  I cry at the violence of sex worker imagery spread by prohibitionist hate mongers.

Photography is an agent for body political change weaponised against sex workers. If we don't start calling out prohibitionists on their use of photography against sex workers then sex work stigma will never end. 

I am 100% committed to having Whoretography as a platform for visual activism, my way to actively protest for legislative change. I know sex work and I know photography. I know how to question images and photographic theory. In this digital age, the message lies not in the photograph but in the transmission of the image. We need to disrupt the flow of sex worker imagery from the hands of prohibitionists. They are controlling the visual message.

Daily I read prohibitionists lambaste sex workers for photo-shopped images and accuse the falsely labelled privileged of creating a fakery and a falsehood of the perfect world of sex work.  One which apparently is masking the prostituted reality via one photo shopped image at a time.   One may suggest they are gentrifying sex work in a photographic photo-shopped conspiracy to hide the prostituted reality prohibitionists  believe to be truth.  Yep. its a pimp my photo conspiracy.

Sex workers are a photographic voice not welcomed on the internet by the very same women who alter their visual self representation on line.  Smells like visual prohibitionist hypocrisy to me. Yep, blatant prohibitionist hypocrisy.  Imagine that. Now let me explain in terms of photographic theory.

Follow enough anti sex work people across social media platforms and you see them doctoring their images. The filtered Instagram image is a phenomenon that has changed the visual landscape of the internet.  Allowing prohibitionist women to alter their self representation  without appearing to be vain or lying by manipulating an image through photo-shop trickery. That's what whores do after all.  A more honest way of creating visual dishonesty.  Photoshop is for whores lying about being prostituted.   The Instagram filter is attempt to make the lives of the antis appear visually special,  add an aesthetic beauty to the ordinariness of reality. To convince others their lives are better that yours, better than reality, better than the Photo-shop lying whores they are rescuing.  

It goes beyond a photo filter though.

All prohibitionists have profile photos on Facebook, a twitter handle image. A visual expression of identity, a form of digital self representation,  a visual performance at tricking the world to seeing you the way you want to be seen. Much like a married man who convinces the world he is a happily married man but his Facebook profile is not of a family unit. Its a self portrait that omits the other half of his apparent happy marriage.   A careful process of culling,  photo editing and selecting.   Sounds like photo-shopping to me.

So, in my journey to challenge the visual antics of the antis I stumble across images that are just gut wrenching. A direct consequence of the hate generated by the visual myth of the prostituted woman.  If men perpetrate the violence against sex workers its female prohibitionists who create the platform for the violence to flourish. What's not to love about exclusionary feminism and their photographic manipulation.

This is Hanna Karim murdered by prohibitionist hate.  She is the consequence of the visual hysteria whipped up by the anti sex work industry.

She was slaughtered on 12th July 2014 along with 27 other men and women massacred in an Iraqi brothel It would be easy to dismiss this as an act of sectarian violence in the Middle East. It would be easy to suggest they deserved it. Prostitution brutally inhumanely massacred them but as it was so eloquently described on Myth Buster this is the consequence as prohibitionist hate speech. 

As far as I see it, they were murdered by the visual war raged by prohibitionists that seek to represent sex workers as disposable worthless bodies worthy of the violence that becomes them. 

 

 

A boxset for the Bobs

With the recent publication of your photography books, an odyssey I have watch via virtual Tweeter, surely this is a huge accomplishment and congratulations!
I also believe, time spent with a beautiful woman, consensually of course, should be recognized.  For the past year I have been Tweeting with you, cringing at times, protecting my balls when you would swing a virtual mallet at stupid men sayings, and more often laughing. You entertained me, and for this reason alone, I wish to say thank you.
You religiously maintain a Bob's List for all time wasters that seek something for nothing.  It is for them that I am purchasing a box set of you recent publication.
Dedicate my purchase to the Bob's List!

.

Books so far ....

I wanted to say thank you to the people who have purchased books and boxsets since I made the shop live on Tuesday. So here it is THANK YOU! Also,  I'd like to say thanks to the sex workers and clients who have contributed content. I will keep saying thank you, regardless of how much it annoys Rachel Moran.  Its been a long process and its about to be realised in books.  A special thanks to those kind souls who have offered words of support and encouragement.  Visual activism for sex workers is at the heart of Whoretography as are social media platforms and I am grateful for my little support group on the Twitter.

I am selling pre orders or advance copies of the books as a way to crowd fund Whoretography.   I say this will all honesty, I am genuinely moved by the support of sex worker allies from across the globe. 

There are a few things that need to be streamlined and improved .....

  1. I need to streamline the checkout process a bit and make it easier to return to shopping from the cart.
  2. I will be adding the book covers and preview pages so you get a better idea of what you are buying.
  3. I need to add to the website the amount of money raised for Ugly Mugs through the sale of the books. Not sure how to do this but need a running total of sorts. 
  4. Contemplating the idea of e-books but I am morally conflicted about this.  I kid you not. Its a real mind bender for me.
  5. I will be adding a book about the Bob List in an e-book form.  I have no moral confliction about Bob.  Its time to publish the Bob List in the name of art of course.

Any other suggestions are welcome.

 

Whoretography books

The Web has brought massive change to the sex industry. As with many other industries the technology-led disruption has changed its fundamental economics. The easy availability of information on the internet has revolutionised the industry’s marketing techniques and its verbal and visual vocabulary. Words can still matter and have their own allure but photographic images are now fundamental to the transaction.

The Whoretography books are a comment on the photographic representation and documentation of sex workers in the digital age.  Sex Workers are imprisoned in the internet, a vision machine that shapes the understanding of their work and bodies and it concerns me greatly that media agencies and exclusionary feminists have weaponised this seeing of sex workers through technology in he war againstautonomy and self determination. I am interested in how society disciplines  sex workers for online self representation and documentation through ridicule and the way sex workers are excluded in the visual conversation where new voices are not permitted.

Whoretograhy is the physical manifestation of the visual representation of sex workers in the digital age.

This has been achieved through 18 months of cyber-anthropology and various cyber-ethnography methods that have allowed me to situate myself into the online sex worker community.  Social media platforms are the new red light districts of the internet. My twitter account has been fundamental to the success of Whoretography.

I am a big believer in the democratisation of  photo-books.  So, its very important to me that the Whoretography books remain affordable. My wish is for them is to enhance the understanding of the  various sex worker experiences through people questioning the intent of the visual images they encounter but I also want the books to help contribute to the safety of sex workers . So a donation to the National Ugly Mugs scheme will be made with every book purchase. 

Having said all of  that, I have to self fund.  A problematic financial dilemma for the self funding MA student with a penchant for ironic and sarcastic visual social commentary and the love of a good photobooks.   So rather than crowd fund, I thought it would be best to advance sell copies of the books which will be dispatched in June & July.

Why no e-books I hear you ask? pfffff! e-books you say!

Well, this is another conversation to be had. I believe the true place of photographs to be in books and on walls.  E-books do not align with my photographic belief sets and I consider them to be sacrilege against my delicate photographic mind set. Yes, really. They offend my snooty artistic photographic sensibilities as I cling desperately to pre industrial images that you can physically touch. I'm 40, I remember the beauty of analogue photography all to well. I am resistant to change.  I am also somewhat pained about the digital dark age we find ourselves in and the precarious fragile nature of the digital image. I am not convinced the internet in its current form is archival.

So here we are, the following books go on sale as of Tuesday. You will be able to buy them from the Bookshop page .... 

They will be shipped world wide in June & July, beautifully wrapped and lovingly packaged with a thank you note and a certificate of donation to Ugly Mugs. 

{Whore}tographer

A not so serious look at my sex work journey and the history behind whoretography.  Whilst I do discuss serious issues and the complicated nature of leading a life of duality its just not me to do so in a serious manner.  This is not a tale of sex work empowerment or a cautionary tale of post sex work career choice regret. its my journey from a childhood of regrettable circumstances and happenings  that fuelled an obsession with photography and how I combined this nuts bonkers passion with photography with over 20 years experience within the sex industry.

Comes as a soft cover 21cm x 26 cm book. Priced at  £17.50

{Whore}steria

My grandmother said red shoes are for little girls and prostitutes ....

A collection of images beautifully presented that make a telling visual comedic statement about sex worker exclusionary feminists obsession with the shoes of sex workers in the war against sex worker human rights.

Comes as a high end soft cover magazine 22cm x 28 cm with gloss cover, matte pages perfectly bound. Priced at £15

 

{Whore}rhetoric

The difference between working at McDonalds and prostitution , is that in prostitution you're the piece of meat ...

A collection of images beautifully presented that make a striking visual statement about how modern day sex worker exclusionary feminists harness the power of violent imagery and employ the same visual propaganda techniques as war mongers and dictators to dehumanise the very women the seek to rescue.  The images that make the rescue industry a fortune and profiteers from the visual myth of the prostituted woman.

Comes as a high end soft cover magazine 22cm x 28 cm with gloss cover, matte pages perfectly bound. Priced at £15

{Whore}phobia

Sex Workers are imprisoned in the internet, a vision machine that shapes the understanding of their work and bodies.

Whorephobia is the revulsion, slandering, persecution, and avoidance of sex workers on the basis that selling sex is morally deviant and responsible for all of societal woes.  It allows a culture of oppression, violence and discrimination to fester.  If you are a sex worker, regardless of where you are perceived to sit on the Whorearchy you belong to a minority  group of which it is socially acceptable to be discriminated against and denied basic human and working rights.

Whorephobia is fuelled by the violence of the sex worker imager.  This book is about bringing together the 8 defining types of images used to dehumanise sex workers in mainstream media and feminism. .

Comes as a  18cm x 18 cm  hard cover book printed on matt paper story book bound. Priced at £32.00

{Whore}stigma

Whore stigma is pervasive throughout society, It’s everywhere, I guess we like oppressing people, or maybe we gain some personal value or elevate ourselves by devaluing somebody else. {Whore}stigma is the visual manifestation of the very real backlash faced by sex workers.

Comes as an A4 hand crafted, printed on fine art papers and hand bound with traditional binding techniques. An authentic and original fine art coffee table book.  A collectors item with a  limited edition print run of 100. Priced at £45

{Whore}dinary

My self representation through curation. I bring together a collection of sex worker selfies that are rarely seen out of the context of the internet. Whoredinary is the selfie presented as if we were in the pre digital age.  A beautiful, painful, honest and insightful look at the fantastically ordinary faces of contemporary sex workers.  A very deliberate attempt through the art of book binding and design to challenge the face of the forced portrait of the prostituted. 

This book comes in two forms.

Comes as an A3 hand crafted, printed on fine art papers and hand bound with traditional binding techniques. An authentic and original fine art coffee table book.  A collectors item with a limited edition print run of 100. Priced at £150

Comes as an A4 hand crafted, printed on fine art papers and hand bound with traditional binding techniques. An authentic and original fine art coffee table book.  A collectors item with a  limited edition print run of 100. Priced at £75

Other titlesand subjects will be added shortly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering Kelly Lee Carr

Warning:   I use the term prostitution in this post not sex work as it fits in the context of the way imagery is used in the Kelly Lee Carr case, the context of violence against women and as a cautionary tale to women  'modify your behaviour or violence will befall you'

If I can be certain of anything its this. If you are sex worker, you WILL be judged in life and you most certainly WILL be judged in death.  Think I am overreacting, then read a post written in the voice of Kelly Lee after she was murdered, a warning from beyond the grave.

Before you read my story, please do not judge me to harshly. I was most likely a young runaway who quickly learned how to do what I had to do in order to survive out in the real world alone. I apparently did not learn it all, as I was murdered July, 10,1991.

Prostitution did not murder Kelly Lee, her boyfriend did but hooking is the only culprit in this crime story and well, the dead whore.

Remembering Kelly Lee Carr is an odd thing for me to say. Odd because until a few days ago I had no idea about her life. That she existed for a brief time. That she has acquired some notoriety in death.  That its not enough for people just to know her as Kelly Lee Carr. That she was murdered, or why her life was so chaotic and complex.  The woman she was and the tale of caution in death she became.  I had no idea why the unremarkable nature of her life was now so remarkable to the middle classes. The chattering masses who condemn women like Kelly Lee to a life and a death of stigma. Death by prostitution. A long drawn out painful suicide. A poetic tragedy of lost hope and self destruction. Being slowly euthanised by way of fucking for cash.  

Invisible in life she was photographed in death so the world can have a visual cue of the fate that will become all prostitutes.

I am embarrassed to say that I can't even remember where she caught my attention. It may have been the twitter. It probably was. Its wonderful for seeing and understanding the relationship between the digital era and the use of photography to shame the lives and bodies of sex workers.

This post mortem image caught my eye.

 

It has an inherent beauty about it. A tender softness.  A visual warning perhaps for women who find themselves by circumstance involved in prostitution. Prostitution can't be a choice, who surely would choose this fate?

They did not need to release this photo to help find out who this prostitute was, other photographs of her in life existed. They were found with her body.

The face of a murdered sex worker is a powerful photographic tool.  A forced portrait if you will. The faces of the prostituted. When portraits are coerced.  A disciplinary tool weaponised by the state to keep wayward women in line of social moral conformity. Be a good girl or end up like this dead whore. Like this dead whore.  An exclusionary feminist tool of continued sex worker oppression.

Photography is power as Susan Santag noted. To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed.  The power of the post mortem death face of a prostitute is more powerful than the hooker and john mugshot in abolishing prostitution.

What I love about Kelly Lee Carr is that although she battled to conceal her true identity from those around her,  she clung on to who she was by carrying with her an extensive collection of images from her different lives.   A remarkable set of pre digital self representation images .  An insightful photographic move by a troubled soul. A prophetic move perhaps by someone who needed people to know who she really was after she died.

I have said this before. We all end up as a collection of photographs. Don't be that person with the death notice that reads 'no known photographs of this person exists'  I am grateful that I can see Kelly Lee Carr for who she was not just a slab of prostituted meat.

For more writings on Kelly Lee Carr …

https://www.thewhoresofyore.com/sex-worker-voices/photographing-dead-sex-workers-by-camille-melissa

Donations

I wanted to say thank you, thank you to the people who have not contributed text or images to Whoretography but have been sending in donations.  Trust me when I say this, it ALL helps.  Its a massive help.  BIG THANKS!

At the moment, I am using the donations to cover the costs of printing the dummy books and being in the production phase. Think ink, papers and book binding odds and ends and all the associated costs that come with self publishing for an MA.

I was a bit sceptical at first, putting a donate button on my MA website. I thought it was a bit rich actually and I really only did it as a cheeky two finger salute to Feminist Current after I was slated by Meghan Murphy on the twitter.  I see they have a donate button to help deny rights to sex workers so I thought fuck you, I'll have one to help support legislative change through the medium of photography. Its what I know. I know sex work and I know photography.

Why I do I value your donations?

Because  we need to keep challenging the visual machine that is the internet that imprisons sex workers in a culture of misunderstanding and shapes peoples understanding of their bodies and work. 

Prohibitionists are now using sex worker self representation in digital imagery as proof absolute that the sex industry cherry picks its speakers to silence the women they seek to rescue.  Of course, like all good prohibitionists they ignore the whole story. They ignore the use of imagery in sex work prior to the inception of the internet and argue that photography has now gentrified sex work with photo-shop hiding the dirty trafficked reality of sex work.

They seek to exclude sex workers from a cultural norm of self representation online and punish them for visual representation. We all represent ourselves through digital platforms these days, creating self portraits about our lives, truths and experiences but in keeping with the deviant narrative of whore prohibitionists argue that sex worker visual self representation online is nothing more than a calculated move by pimps and traffickers to sell the happy hooker myth. 

If you are uncomfortable with how sex workers represent themselves through the visual platforms of social media, then I suggest you stop seeking sex workers out.  I am not uncomfortable and I think the way sex workers use visuals should be celebrated and studied, what really is the impact that photography has on the sale of sex online?

Your donations will help me to publish these books in a professional capacity, hold exhibitions and help me use photography for cultural and political change.

The real Whoreburbia ...

Hang around the wedding scene long enough and you will see a plethora of photographic trends and photo must haves the wedding industry convinces you that you need in order to validate your love.   I mean, its not love right?  Unless you  cram 12 photos onto a double page spread of a mass produced wedding storybook that is apparently unique to just you two.

Where do I begin?! 

Engagement shoots, save the date cards, photographic invites, wedding websites,  first look shoots, storybooks, personalised thank you cards, photo-booths.  If the £ 6 Billion a year wedding industry is good at anything,  its convincing couples their love is not love without spending at least 10% of your wedding budget on photography. 

Where brides are applauded for harnessing the power of photography ,  the sex worker is lambasted.  Sex workers are accused of gentrifying sex work through Photoshop and Lightroom presets. Brides are applauded for adding a sweet romantic vintage tinge to their images.

We are in the midst of a photographic revolution and that explosion of photography and digital media is now.  With democratisation,  photography is an accessible medium that transcends class and cultural boundaries. Except if you are a sex worker. If you are a sex worker, photography is weaponised against you. Shame on you for being part of and taking advantage of the democratisation of photography.

Feminist Current published an article called  Whoreburbia.   In brief,  its about the so called photographic gentrification of sex work.  The use of photography to hide the apparent reality of sex work.  Its not surprising that I disagree with Feminist Current and at some point in time will discuss the article further.  As far as I see it, Whoreburbia is not the gentrification of sex work through imagery. Its the whoring down of middle class brides though boudoir bride photography. A photographic mocking of the lower class whore.

Bet you don't know what Boudoir Bride photography is? 

Boudoir bride photography burst onto the wedding scene in 2007 and brides lapped it up. Shot seductively in coy poses wearing lingerie and elements of their wedding day  (veil, bridal shoes, flowers) strategically placed to protect the virginal brides modesty.  Printed, framed and presented to the husband on the morning of the wedding.  Sexy but hardly x rated, no because that's what whores do. Sex worker imagery is  risqué and tasteless and the act of desperate women in need of money but boudoir photography is apparently very classy, and timeless. Just a little sluttish but not an actual slut.

Nude photography that is middle class not whore class the  ”My husband is not marrying a whore" mentality.  The photographic equivalent of a marital cock tease.  Implied nudity not actually nudity, god forbid a bride is seen as a sexual being. God forbid a husband sees his wife to be naked before the wedding day.  Its the wedding industry, like the fashion and lingerie industries appropriating elements of sex worker work personas, the lingerie shot and saying its okay to be a little bit whorish.  Just this once.  You are getting married but this is the only time you can be a socially acceptable middle class whore.  Its a special occasion after all. 

Boudoir bride photography is middle class women saying its okay to be photographed nude, as long as those nude photos are not on the internet and are not integral to the sale of sex online.  Its brides playing the whore for the camera and for a blissful evening of wedding night fucking. 

If the author of Whoreburbia suffers from post sex work career choice regret then I suffer from post boudoir photographer regret. I am embarrassed to say I spent most of 2007 and 2008 photographing these shoots.