Volume II sees my return to documenting the identity of sex workers. After a year of research and field work, I find myself positioned to evolve and extend my work on the subject. Now based in London, the northern post-industrial landscapes of Volume I, have been traded in for the sex worker & the metropolis. Moreover, where Volume I followed an individual sex worker over the period of a year, Volume II aims to investigate, and collaborate with a number of sex workers over the next upcoming years. I have allowed myself to use the past year to dedicate my time in to researching and developing a further insight into the community, this is inclusive of having the opportunities to speak to sex working academics, gaining the insight, but also ensuring I am trusted within the community. However, my aim remains largely the same. To document the complexities and nuances of a sex worker and their identity, and how hey navigate a sense of belonging in a world that is yet to escape the shackles of its prejudices.
Similarly, my workflow remains somewhat the same. An ethos of collaboration and authenticity remain at the heart of my project. I would again start off with a series of surveys ad ethnographic research designed to form the basis of my photographic hypothesis and likely, offer some insight into potential subjects. My approach would once again structure itself around the quadripartite terminology which I established in Volume I, of the subject and: their authentic self, their self as marketing commodity, there social self and their self as a sex worker.
I will then approach members of the sex industry, and begin to form a rapport. Over a series of virtual and physical meetings, designed around the preference of the subject, we will begin to discuss how the subject feels about a number of topics, and how hey may wish to be photographed. These meetings will be relaxed and informal. I will keep oral and written documentation of these meetings to be published alongside my work. It is my intention that the sex workers may photograph themselves, in the form of the repetitive distribution of disposable cameras, where my role would be one of a supervisor and curator. However, the subject can be photographed in whatever way they are comfortable with. It is my intention throughout to ensure, the subjects feel comfortable, safe and valued. That is a truly collaborative process, and that the subjects must feel empowered to tell their stories.
How do I feel about the sex working community?
As someone who, whilst at University, unknowingly moved into the Red Light District of Huddersfield, I have no negative feelings towards street sex workers. I have more negativity towards the men approaching these women, as living in that specific area would mean on occasion having a car stop beside you, until they realise you're not in the line of work, and carry on with their day. The snooty remark that could be made because of where you live, is the real problem. The problem with sex work, isn't the sex workers themselves, it's the perception of sex workers.
I think that these individuals need a way for their voices to be heard, but for the right reasons, and not as a defence towards misogyny and negative portrayal.
I just want to add a quick thank you to those who have donated, and those who have supported through this journey. I have added a donate button to my page, in which I hope you would be kind enough to contribute. All donations will be beneficial to funding my research and shoots in the future.