I feel I shall have to transition from photography and video and into live art and performance practices to really continue this list. Before I do, I shall just list women photographers who in some way address the Showgirlian.
Elinor Carucci is a photographer by day, but a belly dancer by night. She’s documented her dancing life in the book and series ‘Diary of a Dancer‘. A well-observed project in which we see the types of venues, audiences, costumes, dance moves, preparations and the come down following performing. Its documentary and a diary. Just through pictures, a complex narrative is told. With lots of sequins.
Katharina Bosse‘s book New Burlesque is a fabulous collection of portraits of New Burlesque dancers. The dancers look fabulous in clothes the look like they could be performance costume, or in some cases, sassy day wear. The pose and flirt with the camera knowingly, in domestic spaces, corners of cafes and deserts – nowhere you’d expect to find them. They are there, at the beginning of this new movement, carving out a space for themselves. It is a joyous book.
Jo Ann Callis‘s practice spans decades. I saw an exhibition of her work at the Getty Center, Los Angeles and I made loads of notes as I wanted to review the show for a magazine (I didn’t in the end). But you know, I almost feel that to write about Callis’s work is a redundant gesture. I don’t think they need much introduction. I adore her photographs and I love looking at them. Much of her work is concerned with femininity and the experience of being a woman. Just take a browse round her website. Look out for ‘Woman Twirling’ and ‘Performance’. She taught me when I was at CalArts, and she was just had so much style, I would wear any of her outfits.