Red Light Dark Room
Self published book
‘Everyone else sees us as whores and junkies, but not you’, she said. ‘You guys make us feel special.’
They walk the margins of life and the law. St Kilda’s street workers are the most visible, and at times vulnerable, element of the sex trade. They are talked of, rather than talked to, with grainy images of women on street corners held up as cautionary tales of lives and worlds gone wrong.
In early 2010 Gemma-Rose was awarded an Australia Council for the Arts grant to partner with non-profit organisation St Kilda Gatehouse to photograph and interview street sex workers, while teaching these women how to tell their stories visually.
Red Light Dark Room; Sex, lives & stereotypes is a project which attempts to open the shutters on the day-to-day lives of street sex workers, and was published in April 2011.
The images are often blurry, but they carry raw truths. Pictures of street corners, clients, drugs and the detritus of hard lives. They, and their accompanying words, have common themes, of abuse at a young age, violence, of using and being used. But there is love too. And laughter. Sorrow and cynicism, alongside strength and humour.