Bronia Stewart, Babe Station

What could be seemingly mistaken for an editorial piece begins to uncover a subculture within Britain we rarely get to see. We see past the glazed layer on our TV screens as customers flick through channels to meet the higher end of the TV listings, confronting themselves with women on phones, seductively dressed enticing males into a virtual world of intimate connection. The connection made, between the customer and the seller enters an intimate area of the human desire, yet treats it with a working attitude, as it is part of business. As a tool for moneymaking, it introduces a cold connection, inviting, yet halting when the limits of connection reach. Provided is the rare insight to see the production spaces outside the narrow vision of the television. To observe the happenings in the office, when the cameras are pointed at someone else - what happens then? You can reference back to Larry Sultan’s, The Valley, or the intriguing escapades of Louis Theroux scouting out locations of the exotic subcultures, but this culture lies much closer to British soil than across the famous pond. There is a British quaint to these scenes, as women are caught in their disguises but are doing something else, non related to the nature of their work, the nature, to provide a dream, and to serve a piece of virtual reality to desperate consumers. It might be important to pick up on the gender of the photographer in this environment, in reference to Larry Sultan and Louis Theroux, and this may begin to explain the intimacy that projects throughout each image, although felt like the initial meeting, it has the same intimacy of Susan Meiselas’s work with women in a similar field, yet runs a more current line.

It’s initial impact is the subject and the pictures go some way in describing the scenes before us, yet the underlying presence of intelligent mind is what comes across when we look deeper. The flash, once exposing, reveals detail and clarity, but mirrors the empty act they might project over the phones and television screens. A barrier between subject and photographer is apparent but helped by the glazed view created by the technique. We are revealed almost a teaser trailer to the insights of the work place, that’s business, is concerned with selling intimate dreams. Each subject granted an open view, to paint what they feel should be shown, yet the lighting reveals details they cannot always control. The uncomfortable balance is made comfortable here; safe in the knowledge they are to be represented with neutrality, not a scathing view into the unknown. And ultimately, the pictures reveal the reality of the situation and the fiction they present, the dreams they sell to the man sat in front of the screen, hidden behind the speakers of the telephones, revealing all the acts of desired urgency and discussing the thought process behind it all. For it is more than an editorial piece, it is delving into the undiscovered, but one granted a dignified response from both the subject and recorder. The barriers they sell are placed aside for the pictures as we get to take a look into a side we never see, presenting the reality of it all.