Tradewinds Motel

Collaborative photo assemblage.

I was in a relationship with a sex worker. Tradewinds Motel was a response to a story she shared about erotic modelling she’d done under unpleasant circumstances. I photo-edited the only image she liked from that photo shoot, giving it an affect first of the 1920s, then the 1930s and finally the 1960s, because she enjoyed nostalgia from these periods. And we engaged in a shoot of our own together. I used the camera on a Palm Pilot, creating images that felt fleeting, tracing the memory of an erotic liaison.

The images are grouped in an old-fashioned family-style mat board, as a queer approach to thinking about kinship and chosen family. The images of her, plus those of us together at the hotel, surround an image of her bedside night table with flowers on it. The piece was a collaboration. We reinscribed agency onto a representation that had been made of her. Looking through the ovals in the mat are variations on an image of herself she likes and had a say in, in which she sees herself the way she wants, portrayed as historical evidence. If any prints are sold, proceeds are split between her and a peer-run sex-worker solidarity project of her choice.

Exhibition history:

2006 $pread: Sexworker Visions. LGBT Community Centre, NYC Audacia Ray, curator.