Red Light Dark Room

WHEN : 1st Dec, 6:00 – 8:00pm
WHERE : Brisbane Powerhouse

‘A year ago I set out to tell the stories of some of St Kilda’s street sex workers. What I didn’t know then was that getting to know these women, and seeing past the surface of their lives, was going to become my story too.’ – Gemma-Rose Turnbull

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 2010 Gemma-Rose Turnbull joined St Kilda Gatehouse, a support centre for St Kilda’s street sex workers, as an artist in residence. She began photographing the sex workers, then gave the women their own cameras and worked with them to tell their stories. The result is a collection of insightful interviews, and visual and verbal observations. A collection that seeks to open the shutters on their day to day lives.

The images are often blurry, but they carry raw truths. Pictures of the street, clients, drugs, and the detritus of hard lives. They, and their accompanying words, have common themes, of abuse at a young age, violence, homelessness, of using and being used. There is sorrow and cynicism, alongside strength and humour.

Red Light Dark Room; Sex, lives and stereotypes is also a publication, and will be on display at the The Brisbane Powerhouse during the exhibition.