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NOTE: We are in the process of reviewing our course patterns and prerequisites. If you are unable to register for a course because of a prerequisite requirement, please contact Prof Ketchum at kketchum fullerton. WGST Introduction to Ethnic Studies Perspectives through which people of color have come to see themselves in terms of their own heroes, cultures and contributions to the societies in which they live and the world in general. WGST Introduction to Queer Studies Introduces the field of Queer Studies by examining foundational theoretical texts, contemporary scholarship, and cultural productions that address questions concerning power, desire, sex, politics, bodies, nationalism, citizenship, transnationalism, and race. Units: 3. How globalization affects women's lives through the distribution of wealth, knowledge and opportunity.


What makes a woman decide to engage in sexual performances for a living? Is it for a lack of a better option or because she enjoys doing so? And is working with your body wrong? Should we condemn it?

Julia fullerton-batten: the act

Julia collaborated with seventeen female sex-workers to create staged photographs that capture her subjects in the typical situations they find themselves in for work. Hello Julia, thank you for this interview. What are your main interests as a photographer? Quite simply: to create fine art photography in my style which causes the viewer to think and reflect on the image content. With no in-depth knowledge of the sex industry I worked closely with a casting agent to source models for me.

As directions for the search I defined a sex-worker as somebody who engages in the profession consensually, which can be broken down into two : those where direct contact is involved in a private setting, and adult entertainment where there is no direct contact with clients.

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I excluded prostitutes and street-walkers as I could not necessarily categorize their engagement as voluntary. I met all the applicants privately during the casting stage. This was very drawn out as there were nearly one hundred applicants. In the end result, I reduced the of my models to seventeen women for the fifteen images I had planned to shoot.

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The women were escorts, porn-stars, lap- and pole-dancers, a stripper, a webcam girl, sex slaves, a dominatrix, a burlesque dancer, two aerial artistes, and a ping pong girl. The casual chats were so interesting that I decided to incorporate a Question and Answer session into the shoot so that I could get more details of their lives, their reasons for choosing this career path, and views on such subjects as feminism.

After finishing the shoot I was invited by a publisher to participate in self-publishing a ed limited-edition, A3 sized, fine print book, including a DVD of behind the scenes. The printing company used a special propriety printing technique and the images are brilliantly reproduced.

The book was released a couple of months ago now and has proven to be very popular with buyers from around the world.

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One reason was curiosity; the other was to test myself as a fine art photographer in the environment of shooting an erotic subject matter. My curiosity about their reasons and what happened to them in their lives was the main motivation for this project. To me, it seems an extreme choice to make—to exploit your body sexually to earn money, especially voluntarily. My curiosity raised questions such as: Why?

What are their lives like? How much do they earn? Where do they position themselves in the social scheme of things? My Unadorned project, in which I photographed rubenesque women and men, involved nudity and I suppose may be regarded as semi-erotic, but nothing compared with what I was about to undertake. Another project, In Servicedealt with sexual abuse, but was in no way salacious, nor really erotic.

Can you talk in general about the stories of your subjects?

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Why did they decide to work with their bodies, and are they happy with their jobs and lifestyles? One of the girls was in the process of leaving the industry, but all of the others expressed complete satisfaction with their decision and were happy with their lives.

Several have partners; others complained that it was difficult to find and keep one.

Some have and hope to earn enough to give their child a good start in life. Several are well educated, university graduates; others have learned their acts in a circus training school or are self-taught. All are exceedingly positive in their approach to life outside the normal one and are very eloquent about it in their talks with me.

They constantly brought up the concept of freedom: of choice of what to do and when, from financial worries, from constraints imposed on them by social conformity.

In this respect of freedom alone, they claimed to live the feminist ideal. From a personal standpoint, I was in a very ambivalent frame of mind when I started the project, not too sure what reaction I would have taking nude photographs of women who made their living by exploiting their bodies to gratify others, either sexually or visually. As the project unfolded, my hesitancy towards the girls and their choice of career diminished more and more. The pictures of The Act are very theatrical.

What was your reasoning behind using such an approach? As I progressed with my research for the project and the casting of my models I noticed two things, both of which helped me decide how I would structure the project. In nearly a year of casting I met and talked with close to one hundred applicants; during my conversations with them I detected how much they all seemed to live both their private and work lives in the limelight, as if exposed on a stage.

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The other thing was that I found the details of their lives to be fascinating. Did you choose how to represent each woman on your own or did you involve your subjects in the process? I worked together with the girls on the idea of the stage setting and subsequently closely with a set deer. In addition to setting the scene I felt that photographing the girls in this way would reduce the risk of being accused of merely shooting mundane erotic images, less still pornographic ones.

At the same time, it gave a purposeful, almost sociological-philosophical meaning to the project.

The girls are used to performing—that is their livelihood, so very little direction was needed from me. I occasionally suggested poses, but my subjects were fully in command of that aspect of the shoot, frequently volunteering poses of their own that I might have hesitated to suggest to them myself. I learned a lot during the project, both the facts about the sex industry and the people working in it; maybe these are the subliminal messages that viewers of The Act might get after seeing the images.

Anthropologists study women’s sexual strategies during pregnancy

My models have—for the time being, at least—chosen a different route, one away from the norm. My preconceived ideas about sex workers were reduced, even dispelled. Because they are women like any other.

The journey with them over those few weeks was certainly eye-opening and instructive, also in many respects enjoyable. Maybe the viewers will gain a similar insight by analyzing my images. Did you have any specific references or sources of inspiration in mind while working on The Act? No, nothing, I started with a blank canvas. Of course, having no real background knowledge of the sex industry, I did a lot of research online and in the literature. Are these brave, foolhardy, or fully emancipated women? Can I respect, even admire them, or do I denigrate them for their way of life? As with all my imagery I want to cause the viewer to think, feelreflect, and react — even a negative reaction is better than none at all.

Finally, however, I hope that the viewer will appreciate the images as works of art. FotoRoom uses third-party cookies see here for details.

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Launch Gallery. Please introduce us to The Act. What inspired you to make a series about female sex-workers? What did you want your images to communicate? How do you hope viewers react to The Actideally? Choose your threewordsforphotography.

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Having been featured in Aesthetica twice, Julia Fullerton-Batten produces striking and alluring compositions that touch upon femininity and the issues that are tied to it.


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