Bordellos by Vee Speers

Vee Speers Photography by Vee Speers Words By Billie Jenkins

It is not very often I view a set of photographs like those contained in Vee Speers’ ‘Bordello’ collection. Last I saw of her she was dressing cute little kids up in the guises of adult life. It was unsettling, modern and cold, with beautiful stripped back colour. The black and white images of ‘Bordello’, currently on display at the The Little Black Gallery, mark a whole new visual narrative. They conquer a style, reproducing the feel of an era and culture, but to such a degree it could never have been that way at that time, rather the sum of the half-truths we understand about that time now. They are beautiful, and they are as lavish and seductive as their subject implies. The images were produced in real Paris Bordello’s that retained their original fittings, an interesting little fact to know but almost unrecognisable in the images themselves. One loss caused by this beautiful softness, achieved through a hand-rendered Fresson charcoal, is the detail of this context. I suppose it is this loss, along with the abundance of nude figures, dark shadows and the recognisable which undermine the perfection achieved in the chosen photographic process. It may be the case Vee has triumphed in medium at the loss of story. Karl Lagerfeld writes of the collection ‘They show beauty where beauty can be terribly absent’, yet I feel the images fall short of this at the last moment. An initial breathlessness at the artistic potency later betrays any trace of beauty in the women or context, reducing it to the power of the artist behind the lens. The exception to this is found in the only image of a woman with darker skin, which offers a truly striking portrait, leaving traces long after viewing. Speer’s has once again here proved herself as a leader in photographic technique and offers an immaculately crafted window into Paris Bordello’s of the 20’s and 30’s as we want to remember them.

See the full collection at The Little Black Gallery or at Vee Speers’ site at www.veespeers.com

Vee Speers

Vee Speers

Vee Speers

Vee Speers

Vee Speers

 

Related posts: