Come with me and join the creative resistance in the fight for rights.

Hey All!

I am taking a bit of a break from social media for the coming weeks.  I envision it to be six weeks, but we will see how long I can go for without engaging in sarcastic Twitter banter. I can give up sex and cocaine, affairs with handsome bourgeois married men of Battersea but I am not sure if I can give up the Twitter, even for a brief time. We will see.  I will occasionally be tweeting from the wonderment that is TweetDeck about the books and magazines.  Sorry, I feel dirty saying this, but I need to schedule my tweets in advance, the Twitter equivalent of faking perhaps.    I apologise for my lack of spontaneous tweeting. I apologise for the lack of sarcasm in the coming weeks.  I am sure it will come back with a vengeance and a hefty dose of wit, honesty and sarcasm come May.

Whoretography has morphed into something more than what I could have ever imagined it to be.  It has gone from an off the cuff (I should say off the pillow) remark post fucking Steve McQueen when it dawned on me that I wanted to photograph him naked. Photograph us naked together.  Somewhere between realising I was in the business of a photographic conspiracy in which my camera was acting as an agent for the falsehood of couple cohesion and intimacy, and the idea of documenting paid-for sexual intimacy (okay, mainly with a married Steve McQueen) as the antidote to the visual falsehoods of wedding photography.  I remember it like it was yesterday but it was not, it was sometime in 2014.  I quipped that he could call me the Whoretographer and three years later, here we are today.

It is now the reason I have to take a break from social media for about six weeks.  There are many things I need to accomplish;

  • Finish writing my dissertation (crikey!)
  • Finishing the books for the MA (double crikey!)
  • Compiling the box sets and orders to send them out.
  • Arranging a Whoretography Exhibition
  • Re launching the bookshop
  • Redesign of the website to move it from a creative practice asresearch platform to a commercial self-funding visual activist and book publishing platform.
  • Applying for PhDs
  • The never ending quest to find funding.

I still very much need your help and support, and you can be a champion of Whoretography in many ways.  Come with me and join the creative resistance in the fight for sex workers' rights.

You can be a part of the creative resistance by;

  1. Following Whoretography on the Twitter ( find us on facebook too!)
  2. Buy a magazine, a PDF, an e-book or physical book.  Everything is printed in-house (or via blurb) and is sex work positive.
  3. Comment on blog posts, retweet where you can.
  4. Donate if you wish by way of gofundme, bank transfer or Bitcoin.
  5. Submit content and send me examples of where the media betrays sex workers by the visual rhetoric they circulate.
  6. Send me suggestions for books to review for the Sex Worker Review of Books.
  7. and anything else you can think of!

Thanks for reading me and many thanks!

Photography and the business of sex ...

As told to Whoretography by Sex Worker Nikki Cox @NtyNikki

When I started in sex work in 1996 there were only 3 options for advertising: the local newspaper with a circulation of maybe 15,000, the city/state newspaper - in both of these we had to lie and advertise in the "massage" column and had to have a massage certificate that we had to show to place an ad and finally the yellow pages. A sex workers reach to clients was limited. It wasn't until 1998 that escort advertising had started to gain attention on the Internet when I was working in Los Angeles. And upon my return to Australia - I started a business to advertise escorts on the Internet but nobody wanted to advertise - citing the excuse that "no one will ever use the Internet to look for us" I couldn't keep the website & business running financially as I had staff to pay - so I closed it down

Within 2 years the Internet then was abloom with escort advertising sites. I was too early for such a business in Australia. Going from print media to digital media - sex workers had a much wider reach to clients in their city - state and country. We were now in the offices and the homes of clients - on their computer screens for them to look at and read about.

You could never place a photo in the newspaper so for these men to see us before they made an appointment took sex work to the next level. Years go by and sex workers go from having grainy digital photos taken by their boyfriend or friend to the era of professional photography and "branding" which at first worked awesomely! Clients ate it up and bookings went through the roof. But this era became out of control and clients - although enjoying access to so many "hot looking" sex workers - started to become disenchanted by the incredible amount of over photoshopped photos. They would be disappointed with the real person when they met them because they were not the fantasy girl in the luxury surrounding depicted in their photos - they were just ordinary women. Clients revolted and have reverted back to wanting real pics.

The demand for selfies and face photos became strong, which many sex worker found hard because they hide their face and identity from the public. Clients also wanted to read a bio that sounded humble and real not a marketing blurb about how perfect the sex worker is. Clients enjoy spending time with a real person when they know it's a real person and this is why social media rose to the top of sex worker marketing. Selfies are what clients love to see and having direct interaction on an individual basis.

Twitter has most definitely become the new red light district. A gathering of sex workers who meet, network and book clients through the platform. Clients can get to know the sex workers personality now via interactivity instead of just reading an ad. Photos are more often updated than that on an ad website because of technology - it's easier to take and upload to social media thanks to phone cameras and photo apps - it can all be done on one device. Some sex workers use video so that clients can see what they look like in action and in real life situations.

The downside of being so accessible is the impatience of the potential clients and current clients. They want a sex workers attention NOW & MORE of it. And if you aren't online to answer their messages & demands, they become abusive. Twitter is a media platform where you go from zero followers to 10,000 before you know it. And the pressure to "perform" on Twitter becomes intense. People expect you to be political. They expect you to be involved. They expect you to entertain them (for free). Twitter is a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing if you carefully orchestrate access to yourself and plan what you say and what photos or videos you release. It's a curse of you jump in with both feet with no plan as you will find yourself rolling in the mud with the others who don't control their media.

In 2015 there are more stalkers and abusive clients than in 1996 and I believe this is due to too much accessibility. We are no longer cherished for sharing our bodies with them instead clients have an expectation of having full access to body, mind and spirit in any way they see fit. Sex workers have a much harder time keeping a client in check because of their sense of entitlement. Social media has become a place where people lose their sense of reality. They forget that they are dealing with real living breathing human beings behind the handles (even when they come face to face with that personality). There is not only abuse from potential clients who "need it now" online but also those who are against sex work and lobby for its dissolution, people who hate the fact that we exist.

People don't realise how fucking lonely sex work was prior to social media because most were born into the age where technology & social media is the norm as a young adult.

It breaks my heart to see all the hate online for sex work but what did I expect?

Evolution is the survival of the fittest. I'm still here because I've worked through the hardest of times plus I'm tough and smart. I am privileged to still be relevant. Despite all the negativity, where we are in this evolution of sex work - politically and technologically - is the best it's ever been and we should appreciate what we have so intensely.