Don't miss the latest stories
NSFW Photo Series Portrays The Offbeat Lives Of Women In The UK’s Sex Industry
By Yoon Sann Wong, 12 Apr 2017
Sasha Flexy, Pole Dancer. Image by Julia Fullerton-Batten and featured with permission
When people think about the sex trade, many tend to associate it with exploitation, corruption, and reluctance. On the other side of the coin lies the willing parties who have chosen to carve out their careers in this specific industry.
Fine-art photographer Julia Fullerton-Batten documents the lives and skills of women who congenially engage in the UK’s sex industry via her photo series ‘The Act’.
Each of the women featured inside the collection has defied social norms by charting their own unique path in life. After one year of casting, the photographer narrowed her selection of models to fifteen individuals, some of who are educated with university degrees. The group includes “aerial artistes, a Ping-Pong girl, a dominatrix, an escort, and webcam and porn stars.” The nude models have been photographed against distinctively crafted stage sets that mirror and spotlight “their act”.
Fullerton-Batten explains in her artist statement, “During my meetings with my models, both before and during the shoot, I sensed that they tend to live their entire working lives as if on a stage. They are women who are proud of their bodies and choose to use their bodies in order to make an income. Many have had physical enhancements so that, in their eyes, they are more physically attractive to their client. They live in the present and think little of their long-term future. Most are single, but some have relationships. Some are brazen, others palpably very vulnerable. It is these nuances of conviction and inner conflict that I hope I have captured in my images.”
“I created the backdrop for the images in the form of mini-theatrical sets. Each setting is relevant to the individual woman and her profession. The mini-sets were mounted on a stage as if they were giving a performance, which indeed they were. My choice of cinematic lighting imparts an enigmatic interpretation of their acts. It is a split second of a filmic recreation of their life. As far as possible, I have avoided sexually explicit scenes–undeniably the images are sexy and provocative, but also playful.”
While the function of the sex industry remains heavily contested in today’s society–some believe it should be done away with entirely, while others argue that it’s a contribution to women’s freedom of choice as to the work she chooses to participate in–the artist admits that in an odd way, she’s grown to admire these ladies.
“They are honest to themselves and exhibit a high degree of self-respect, certainly well above the norm.”
The project has transcended beyond just photos to include a behind-the-scenes video and photo book. The Act includes foreword by Senior Photo Editor of Vogue Italia Alessia Glaviano and art critic Helen Tootsi. Video interviews with the models have been transposed by Jen Brook into intimate text stories that accompany the book’s visuals.
The Act can be purchased online at £140 (US$175) plus shipping for the standard limited edition and £770 (US$962) plus shipping for the collector’s limited edition.
Preview photos from ‘The Act’ below and see more here.
Mouse, Ping Pong Girl. Image by Julia Fullerton-Batten and featured with permission
Morrigan Hel, Dominatrix. Image by Julia Fullerton-Batten and featured with permission
Veronica, Aerial Artiste. Image by Julia Fullerton-Batten and featured with permission
Chloe and Ella, Slaves. Image by Julia Fullerton-Batten and featured with permission
Bentley and Jade, Pornstars. Image by Julia Fullerton-Batten and featured with permission
[images by Julia Fullerton-Batten and featured with permission]
More related news
Also check out these recent news