sex work is work

About ...

I am a Commercial Photographer and Creative Director of the Whoretography Project. I hold a B.Sc (biological science) from La Trobe University, a post-graduate diploma in criminology from Melbourne University, a Masters Degree in Photography and Creative Media Arts (Distinction, First Class Thesis) from LSBU and I am currently undertaking a PhD in Photography. I am interested in the way marginalised communities use photography in online spaces as a tool for visual activism and political change. I have extensive experience in self-publishing, photo books and zines both as a creative practice through and creative practice as research.  Further to this, I have interests in contemporary photography with an emphasis on theories of the author as editor and exploring issues related to politics, sexuality, surveillance and identity that are part of contemporary online photography.

Driving my doctoral research, developed through my own career as a documentary photographer, and my lived experience as an artist is the wider implications for the way other stigmatised groups exist online. It is hoped that those labelled as marginalised can harness the power of visual self-depiction as a tool for visual activism, by challenging prevailing ideologies of stigma, to act as catalysts for political change and exist online free of hostility, stigma and shame.

The Name:

Whoretography.  It's brutal, right? I am sure it seems counter intuitive to use the word Whore in light of my expectations about the use of appropriate language surrounding sex work.   I am mindful that it is viewed just as a smart play on words. An advertising slogan for commercial purposes.  It started out as just the name of a photo-book but  now is a public declaration of sorts against the linguistically disproportionate language used to label women who work in the sex industry and the role photography plays in the online sale of sex.

The Whoretography Project:

*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.

A very middle-class murderous agenda ...

You know what is really disheartening, watching politicians decide the destiny of sex workers, especially trans, immigrant, disabled and sex working mothers whilst the men who pay for sex remain silent.  Clients of sex workers often cite their reason for remaining silent is as complicated as that of a sex worker who is not out of the whore closet, but I am not convinced. 

Refusing to speak because of stigma is one thing, refusing to speak out because you are cheating on your wife is another thing entirely.   Wouldn't it be fabulous if clients called out the likes of  BBC  or the radical feminists who are out every day peddling the rhetoric of the sex worker as the hapless objectified victim who can't decide her own fate or as the complicit harlot upholding the structures that underpin patriarchy. How many times have you heard the happy hooker verbal diarrhoea that flows out of the mouths of so-called feminist to give credence to their flatulence that to believe in the happy hooker is to allow the abused majority to remain oppressed?  If the prohibitionist war on sex workers, and let's be frank, this is about the abolishment of the prostitute has taught me anything, it's that white middle-class feminist with a saviour complex will say anything to justify removing the income of sex working mothers so their children die in poverty and hunger on the streets. What better way to eradicate the prostitute, than killing their children so no future whore is birthed.

It would be wonderful if I had the audacity to call women's hour and request that if they insist on ignoring the voices of sex workers perhaps they could settle for the next best thing and have a conversation with you men instead, you can testify to our ability to think for ourselves.  What better authoritative voice on the lives of whores than of men (note the Australian bluntness in that remark, yes, I am being sarcastic).  I live in hope that you could speak for sex worker for whom you know it to be true that is neither of these retched stereotypes the BBC peddles. 

It's about time the men who pay for sex step up and start defending the rights of sex worker to exist, stay silent my friends and I guarantee that in 12 months you'll be criminalised for buying intimacy, stay silent and you are all complicit in a whore genocide that is is entirely preventable.

I don't normally ask for help, especially from clients but sex workers need good men such as yourself to stop the poison and the hate-fuelled vitriolic rhetoric being thrown their way. Please, please, please do not enjoy the company of sex workers in the shadows and then sit back and watch them being slaughtered as the result of a hate-filled whore feminist led mass murde5r.

It may be somewhat reactionary, direct and bold - but take it as evidence of how scared I am at the prospect of having the Nordic Model imposed on the community because they have been rendered expendable due to the nature of their income. 

If you are a client, you really have three options:

1) Stay silent, do nothing. Throw your hands in the air and say but what can we do, stop visiting sex workers if the Nordic model comes into play because you're chicken shit and want the state to micro manage your body, and learn how to wash your hands of the blood of sex workers.

2) Speak up for sex workers. Platform and protest, challenge whorephobic attitudes when and where you can.

3) Don't want to or can't speak up then donate to the people who do speak up and out, the  organisations that support sex workers, grassroots activist campaigns that are in the midst of the battle and those groups that tackle violence against sex workers.