I wanted to thank the men who have contributed to Whoretography. Both as client and as sex worker. I am beyond grateful for your honest thoughts, your opinions and the rawness of your input.
Whoretography actually began because I am fascinated by the secret lives of married men. I adore married men. I really do. I find their hidden worlds compelling. Documenting this is far from easy, but I am getting there. I am doubtful I will include this in the MA. I will aim for a practise based PhD perhaps.
My original intent was to photograph the intimacy in paid for sex because I view it as a continuum of wedding photography. I am interested in the public face of their marriages and the private world of marital disharmony from the male perspective. Yes, as a female photographer. If wedding photography teaches you anything, its the way we use photography to construct a fantasy of marital happiness & cohesion. I view sex worker/client images as the proof absolute of the death of that marital falsehood.
Whoretography was to be just a continuum of wedding photography. Its morphed a little. I am happy with that though.
In general, the response to my MA from men has been positive. I expected to be in receipt of the obligatory cock shots that are so common place these days. I expected to be asked personal questions. I'd rather men be interested in the subject matter not me. I am actually rather boring if I am honest. I work three jobs, I study, I read and I spend way to much time thinking about the sex I am having with a married man whom I adore and if he likes me as much as I like him.
Enter this man.
I really don't know what to make of his contribution. I question his motivation and the authenticity of his claim that blurred sex worker imagery reminds him of grandma but who am I to decide this. I may be wrong. I don't think I am.
But this intrigues me.
I was not going to share it because I think its relationship to sex worker imagery is a stretch at best. It also ignores the reason why sex workers blur their faces, stigma. It does however relate to my original post on this site about how: we all end up as a collection of photographs.
Sometimes I find it hard to understand why men contribute to the MA but I have enough to worry about. See above paragraph about the sex I am having with a married man and if he likes me or not.
You can decide for yourself:
During my beloved grandmother's last years on earth, the medications she was taking made her dentures unbearably uncomfortable. So, she would go without them for long stretches. But she hated the way she looked without her teeth. She was depressed, old and dying. She hated the way she looked, in general.
When she was young, she was stunningly good looking. Even in old age, she was beautiful (with or without her teeth). I loved her dearly. After she died, we found a series of Polaroid photos she had taken with her grandkids, from our visit with her a few months earlier. They were out in her living room where she would show her friends and visitors, and brag about her grandchildren. The photos were of us, standing with our grandmother. In each photo, grandma had painstakingly cut just her face out of the photo. Those pictures broke my heart. They spoke to the depth of my grandmother's depression when she died. They said something about self-loathing. But grandma had literally defaced the LAST photos of herself with her grandchildren! It has upset me for 30 years.
I understand the need for sex workers to both advertise their beauty while remaining plausibly anonymous. But, personally, I prefer photos where sex workers hide their features with their hair, a floppy hat, a lace mask, a turn of the head, or even that odd cropping of from just below the nose.
Seeing the blurred out face reminds me of my grandmother.
That's my personal association. But it also says, "On some level, I'm ashamed of this picture." And that's sad. I know, a floppy hat or cropping the photo to avoid the eyes pretty much "says" the same thing. But, for some reason, it doesn't strike me in the gut the same way. The blurred face fills me with an irrational sadness and dread.
Worse than the blurred out face. The "white hole" reminds me so much of my grandmother. The personal connotation is so sad and depressing. I know, that's largely emotional baggage that I'm bringing to the image. But this is just the opposite of sexy for me.