Next up on from Documentary Photography is Sasha Jones who has photographed friends, family and partners in recreations from lesbian pulp fiction from the 1950s. The difference is the contemporary versions have a roughness to them that makes them both a homage to the pulp novels, but also a reflection on how much things have changed and on the realities of being a woman in the world today. There is also, embedded in there, the idea that things don't stay the same. And that if we dont' fight and struggle for our rights, and confront those who would take them away, then things won't be quite so progressive as they are now. The dark days of the past can return.
There's a huge history to the lesbian pulp fiction too, with its function ranging from male-centred titillation to a model for what was (and in many places still is) a virtually hidden community of women. And the covers are amazing.
See below for what Sasha says about the project.
by Sasha Jones
1950’s American lesbian pulp fiction served up a titillating diet of forbidden Sapphic love. Despite the books being initially written by men for men, they became a starting point for the battles for lesbian rights. With titles such as I am a Lesbian, The Strange Path and Female Convict, the covers showed women entering a world of womanly love as they surrendered to lust and an inevitably unhappy ending.
Strange Desires questions the representations of contemporary women, some of whom identify as LGBTQ, by paraphrasing the covers of American Lesbian Pulp Fiction Novels. The project explores the identities of women who are less confined by their sexuality than their predecessors shown as characters on the front covers of the pulps. Inspired by the dangerously humorous titles and the colorfully playful imagery, I have photographed my subjects in poses which are not real, just as most of the stories they represent are not real.
Absurd as they were, these pulp novels showed isolated lesbian women that they were not alone and helped us to move forward to the battles of Stonewall and beyond. Inspired by the writings and by the exploitative and sensational art, the portraits explore the boundaries of documentary and pulp.
See more of Sasha's work on Instagram: @shazabell13
Contact Sasha at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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You can see this and other documentary work in London opening 16th June at Seen Fifteen Gallery, Peckham. We'd love to see you there so come and say hello!
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