Sex Workers as Image-Makers

£7,211 of £10,000 goal

Raised by 65 people in 30 months
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Whoretography: Sex Workers As Image-Makers, a critical analysis of sex worker self representation in online spaces. 

Website: www.thephotographictheorist.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhdPhotographer
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thephotographictheorist 

About

Born in Melbourne, her father, a highly decorated Vietnam War soldier died on duty serving as a Police Officer when she was a baby, she was raised her mother with her three older sisters in the Australian countryside.  Camille graduated with a  Bachelor’s Degree in biological sciences from La Trobe University in 1997 and with postgraduate studies in criminology from the University of Melbourne in 1999. After a successful career working in community correctional services that began in 1999,  where she managed community-based offender rehabilitation programs including the sex offenders' register, she immigrated to the United Kingdom in 2005 to enhance her career in criminal justice.  In 2007 she resigned from working with young offenders to pursue a less institutionally defined career as a freelance photographer. In 2009 she was shortlisted for the Royal Academy of Art summer exhibition for her Berlin street photography. 
 
Between 2012 and 2014 she collected a number of awards and magazine commissions for her less traditional avant-garde wedding photography work. In 2015 she undertook a Masters Degree in digital photography and creative media arts (graduating with a distinction from London South Bank University, achieving a first for her thesis that answered the question is it possible to reclaim the word whore through creative practice as research?) Her current research interests lie in the way marginalised communities use photography in online spaces as a tool for visual activism and political change. While still a practicing commercial photographer in artistic high end commissions , she specialises in reimagining existing photographs.  She has extensive knowledge relating to the self-publishing of photobooks and zines both as artistic and research practices.  She has further interests in contemporary photography with an emphasis on theories of the author as editor, working with other peoples’ images and exploring issues related to politics, sexuality, violence, feminism, surveillance, censorship and identity. She is currently undertaking a PhD with one of the United Kingdoms leading institutes for visual research, the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM), School of Media, Arts and Design, at the University of Westminster.

The Doctoral Research:

To understand the originality, the urgency, the significance, and the potential impact of my doctoral research on our understanding of the visual culture of sex work, you need to understand four things, I want you to imagine for a moment that;

1) photography has been a key advertising tool in the transaction of sex since the inception of photography in the 1800s. In 1883, The Pretty Women of Paris guidebook for English Gentlemen was published. The guidebook was the historical precursor for the modern digital sex worker website, like websites, the guide provided textual descriptions of the services provided by the sex workers and more importantly, a series of photographic portraits of the sex workers selling sex in Paris at the time

2) that photographic depictions of sex workers began appearing not long after the art of photography was born. That there are a plethora of photographic works of art that exists of sex workers as the subject matter and there is a massive complimentary body of academic literature that critically comments on the sex worker as a photographic (as well as media and cinematic) subject matter.

3) that there is also a plethora of existing research that uses photography as a tool to understand the lived experiences of sex workers. Photo-voice, photo elicitation and participatory photographic research methods are well documented and well used visual research method for academic scholars to engage with sex working communities.

4) that sex workers sex workers have been selling sex online since the 1990s, that the sex worker self-portrait arose from technological advancement and social media and although the self-portrait has always been present in art (primarily made by men, through men and for men), self-generating visual content by sex workers themselves has been a part of selling sex since the 1990s. Stored digitally and distributed instantaneously, sex worker self-portraits on social media platforms are now commonplace. Contemporary sex workers are in control of their photographs, this is in marked contrast to the 1980s and early 1990s when men controlled the visuals of sex work.

Now having imagined all that, I need for you now ask yourself one question;

Why in the 180 years since the inception of photography, and with everything we know about film theory, photographic theory, female representation, the male gaze, the impact of digital technologies, the online censorship, the hostile oppression faced online by sex workers and not to forget all the heated and highly contested feminist and political debates that rage around sex work, why WHY am I the FIRST and ONLY visual arts-based (or any other type of academic for that matter) academic that has ever critically examined the way sex worker visual depict themselves?

I need your help in funding my ground breaking original research into sex workers as image-makers and help me make academic history by being the first person to publish research into the way not how others depict sex workers, but the way sex workers depict themselves.


In addition to the research, I am also creating:

*A safe space on the internet to discuss sex worker imagery free of hostility, stigma and shame.

*The whoretography review of sex work photo books and projects with an emphasis on challenging hegemonic photographic representations of sex industry participants in the media and arts.

*A list of sex work arts-based research projects that use photovoice, participatory photography, photographic essay or photo-elicitation to study sex work communities.

*A living document detailing global photographic projects that depict a vast array of experiences within the sex industry.

*A reflexive and reflective blog documenting my doctoral research.

*A platform to promote the photographic work of current or former sex working photographers and visual artists.

*A best practice photographers guide for current sex workers that promote safe, professional and ethical photographers.

*The publication of a magazine dedicated to the discussion of contemporary and historical aspects of the visuals of sex work.

* A publishing house dedicated to the publication and promotion of Whoretography books.

*The design, print and promotion of sex worker zines and photo books.

*A bookshop of second photobooks, zines and photographic magazines the sale of which will help fund the Whoretography project.

*A program and workshop that enables individuals exiting sex work to develop the skills required to pursue a photographic career in creative media arts.


Donations:

Donate £500 

You will receive behind the scenes access to my doctoral research, including being able to read unpublished draft versions of my doctoral thesis.

Donate £1000 

You will receive behind the scenes access to my doctoral research, including being able to read unpublished draft versions of my doctoral thesis. A bound copy of my completed thesis plus a signed copy of the book created as part of my doctoral research.

Donate £1500 

You will receive behind the scenes access to my doctoral research, including being able to read unpublished draft versions of my doctoral thesis. A bound copy of my completed thesis plus a signed copy of the book created as part of my doctoral research and will be personally thanked in the acknowledgments section of my thesis.  





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A throw back from Whores of Yore ....

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

Using photography to shame sex work providers is a well-documented tactic. Just google prostitute mugshot, and you will see for yourself. Looking at photographs of dead sex workers makes people feel incredibly uncomfortable. Highlighting them on a platform dedicated to understanding sex work images provokes mixed responses. The decision to republish these pictures is not a flippant afterthought. It is not clickbait to garner better traffic stats. They make me angry and frustrated. I do find it fascinating, though, readings people's reaction to seeing the faces and the bodies of murdered prostitutes. What is it that’s so offensive? The murder itself or the fact that a photograph exists of it?
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Just an update to say that I am now printing more physical copies that I am selling e versions via Blurb and ibooks, I really appreciate people investing in a hard copy. I am nuts bonkers for photographs in the physical form. They are posted in discreet packaging just in case you are worried what the postie may think.

You can buy it directly from my website as a PDF or hard copy, from blurb as a hard copy, e book and PDF and iBooks (e-book)

I have also entered it into a self publishing independent magazine competition via Stack Magazines.
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I am also hoping to have out soon a book of found sex work Polaroids, anonymous stripper audition photographs from the 60s/70s. The book with be available as a hard copy from the Whoretograhy Blurb shop.
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The first edition of the Whoretography Magazine was published on the 14th of Jan 2017. You are able to buy a copy as an e-book via Blurb ( http://www.blurb.co.uk/ebooks/610747-whoretography) I am working on adding a PDF and hard copy version. I am also trying to have it listed with iBooks and that's a mission that is still a work in progress.
Whoretography Contents Page
Wedding photography & sex work intimacy
The murder of Kelly Lee Carr
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Raised by 65 people in 30 months
Created September 18, 2016
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