Friday, August 22, 2014

"Lost Innocence" Portrait Style Idea?

I have been thinking of using the ring flash and blad to tell the stories of the "Lost Innocence" brothel workers. The idea behind these pics would be to raise awareness about forgotten workers inside Thailand. The brothels from what I understand (need to do read more about this world) use trafficked woman from Burma, Laos and Cambodia who work with Thai customers (mostly). I have very limited knowledge of this ugly scene and it would be dangerous to shoot because of the police corruption that is involved. Most of these places have police protection and pay bribes to stay open. In Cambodia some of the brothel customers are police getting freebees so I assume that happens in Thai as well. It would be dangerous series to work on, something that might get me robbed or physically attacked. When corrupt police and human traffickers see any danger to their illegal income anything can happen, lots of it bad.

The idea behind the series would be to do a series of portraits showing these forgotten abused women and tell the story of who they are and the terrible lives they live. I want to make stark portraits that show the ugliness of it all and thought that square format heads might communicate that message. Photos in the same style as the two I made of dad recently. The ring flash is also important technically. When I photographed brothel workers in Cambodia in 2003 the rooms were so crowded and dark that flash was the only viable option.

I might also try printing the work using wet plate in the darkroom. Having stark honest portraits of these workers and then print them large on wet plate might work very well. Showing the work nationally and internationally could not hurt the fight to end this kind of exploitation (at least a little bit). The pics might do nothing but they could also make a small positive change, its certainly is a goal worth working towards. This would be one of 4 or 5 projects I might work on during my extended Thai trips. Along with the  "Migrant Workers" project and the "Families of the Dump" and the colour "Sex Tourist-Worker Relationship" series. It would probably happen over many years maybe 10 or more.