Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Craig's Obsessions: E.J. Bellocq

One of my favorite photographic inspirations is E.J. Bellocq who took pictures of prostitutes in Storyville, New Orleans' legal red light district that existed from 1897 - 1917. I particularly like the pictures with the scratched-out faces. Some see this as a visual representation of violence against women, and, while I'm not denying that, I like the pictures for the disturbing questions they raise about the relationship between violence and desire. It's almost as if Bellocq (if he's the one who actually did the scratching, something that is debated) wanted to erase his feelings for these women, that he wanted to rid himself of the sense of vulnerability and helplessness that often comes with being overwhelmed with desire. And on top of all that, the pictures are just so damn creepy.

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