Friday, 28 May 2010

Boxes and Carnivals

Lena After the Show, Essex Junction, Vermont .
Susan Meiselas 1973

Pandora's Box opened at The Wapping Project Bankside last night, and the brief 'chat' with Susan Meisalas was as insightful as it was thought provoking. The images taken 15 years ago, were deemed impossible to show at the time of production; the S & M content of a real life outfit in New York was just too risque.. Thanks to both the film documentary and Meisalas' photos the venue has seen a surge in clientele and even relocated to a larger and more expensive area...Though Meisalas adds its popularity has somewhat ruined what it was.

Further interesting points include Meisalas' belief that the series 'could' not have been produced without her former knowledge and experience she took from the infamous 'Carnival Strippers' series.
Both share this core set of issues, the women performing these acts - whether that be stripping or acting as a dominatrix - are in control. They often lead double lives and this 'job' is usually a window in their lives, all but soon to pass. Though with Pandoras Box we are talking more about bought relationships.. Comments worth a mention where how much we have moved on in terms of shock value/ explicit imagery - the point was made how some of these images could even be seen as tame and a touch nostalgic compared with what is available on the net etc... All rather distressing but true nonetheless.

This Disneyland of Domination, these rich opulent colour negs, an unstaged document of women performing desired acts ticked from a box, the desired choice of the pain- seeking clients. I can already envisage the series becoming as evocative as 'Carnival Strippers'.

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