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Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Books that haven't been published: Juliana Beasley's Polaroids

These are Juliana Beasley's Polaroids, a side project to her Lapdancer pictures which were published in book-form and are one of the few cases of dancers/strippers where the person actually making the work is the person who is immersed in the work rather than being there for the purpose of the project, Nikki S.Lee, Sophie Calle notwithstanding..

These polaroids are an example where the crossover between the photography and the people photographed takes place in territory that sits very uneasily between one world and another (and it should be noted that Juliana used to assist Annie Liebovitz before turning to Lapdancing to make a living. Or that after working as a lapdancer she made a great project on Rockaways which should also be a book. But so it goes).

The upshot of this approach is that they are happening within that world of dancing, in the before-times, the end hours and the off-moments, so there is a happenstance quality to them that allows the people photographed to come through with a degree of subtlety that the handwritten texts both adds to and takes away from in places. There is a touch of authenticity there which the photographic project and generic intentions haven't stripped away. There's sadness in there, hardness, dysfunction, sexiness, openness, concealment and theatricality. It's a portrayal of the masks with which people disguise themselves, or don't.

We've just had the end-of-year lists come out for the best books, but sometimes it's worth wondering at books or exhibitions that don't come about, that haven't happened yet for whatever reasons, most often to do with the simple economics of publishing and exhibiting. It is much, much easier to publish if you have a trust fund for example. This is one of those books or exhibitions that hasn't happened yet. But it should because these are quite fantastic. One day. 

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