NEW: HUMAN NEGOTIATIONS
PLEASE NOTE : None of the women and transsexuals photographed was underaged or trafficked into her / their work nor did we force them to participate. Every woman we met was interviewed.
"This project, and the beautiful new book that represents it, takes a novel approach to a subject as old as time. The photographs are intimate, colorful and powerfully sensual and empathetic. The words are profound and allow for the voices of their subjects. This book is a great example of documentary work that takes you into the lives and thoughts of the subjects and reveals a world few get to witness."
Ed Kashi, VII Photo
"What Hesse and Day present in Human Negotiations is a unique and highly personal look at a facet of the sex industry rarely documented before, challenging the perception of women and sex. It is both emotionally powerful and poignant, with its visual rhythm reflecting the lives the women live and the city which forms the backdrop to this story. But it does not seek to answer all the questions raised: instead, Hesse and Day present a stepping off point from which a larger dialogue may begin."
Human Negotiations is an independent, self-funded collaboration between documentary photographer Katharina Hesse and writer Lara Day, exploring the lives of a community of Bangkok sex workers through both images and text.
The project came into being in 2007, when Hesse and Day met during a photography workshop. Over the course of three years, the pair have returned to Bangkok's red-light districts repeatedly to interview and photograph more than two dozen women.
Human Negotiations is not a journalistic account of the sex trade, but instead a personal interpretation of a line of work that is frequently misunderstood. Leaving aside stereotypes of exploited, downtrodden Third World females coerced into a profession in which they are passive victims, the project reveals a more nuanced, open-ended world where women take center stage, and where reality's complexities leave room for wider interpretations.
Documentary photographs and fictional vignettes based on personal interviews focus on subjects who have not been coerced into their jobs, but who choose to work in the sex industry as a means towards a better life: a mother supporting a child, a ladyboy saving up for cosmetic surgery, a girl from the countryside looking to strike it rich in the big city, a woman living the lifestyle to enable her own freedom and independence.
To date, the project has garnered international support and been shown at numerous spaces and festivals including the inaugural Arles in Beijing / Caochangdi Photospring, China (2010), the 8th Art Festival Aleppo, Syria (2010) , City of Women:16. Intern. Festival of Contemporary Arts, Slovenia (2010), Noorderlicht Foto Festival, Netherlands (2009), “Summer of Love” , Noorderlicht group exhibition 2009 and Chobi Mela V, Bangladesh (2009). It has also been featured in the pages of photography collector magazines such as EYEmazing and ODP 25 (June 2011), as well as online on E-photoreview.com.
Human Negotiations was published as a book on June 25, 2011 by the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre,.
It can be purchased in China and on this site.