photographing food

“Interior of a Hong Kong Pizza Hut” by me

After reading Blake’s fun post on food photography, I’ve pondered just how much I’ve photographed my meals.

That would be once: for StuffSexWorkersEat. Not only did I forget to take my camera to breakfast several days in a row, when I did finally bring it, I forgot not to eat my food before taking the momentous picture. A food photographer I am not. I felt even more furtively creepy taking pictures of my unsuspecting, innocent meal than I do taking pictures of people who willingly pose for my camera.

I have photographed a few menus, like at the mango dessert shop and Pizza Hut, both in Hong Kong. I’ve sometimes taken pictures of the interior of a restaurant, for various reasons. But the food? I just eat it.

The first time I ate at Enso Kitchen I wished I had brought my camera, but my friend kindly took photos with her phone and later emailed them to me so I could have a memory of that meal. Honestly, every meal there was photo-worthy, but I never again asked for documentation.

Read more


Since I often read things and want to comment but don’t, here are my comments. A lot of these links came from Tits and Sass since I no longer bother with my Google Alerts.

escort photo documentary

While the story is somewhat unique, the pictures of Eden working are completely recognizable to any touring hourly escort. Locales may differ, there may be a lack of cigarettes and wigs, but everything else is very, very true. Escort work really can be this boring and mundane. Just like stripping. Just like data entry. Just like anything.

Hong Kong escorts and review board exploitation

I remember when I went to HK. I was never on the site because it wasn’t a good fit for me. I was: too old, Western, English-speaker, outcall-only, had much higher rates than the local girls. I had no idea it developed into the terror it has. (TER is probably kicking itself for not figuring out the bad review scam Sex141 pulls.)

HK girls work in limbo. Sex work is partially decriminalized and partially illegal, depending on what, where and how. While the laws seem clearly defined on the surface, sex workers face almost as much police harassment as US sex workers. My firm belief is that anytime there is an illegal aspect to sex work, the workers will suffer. The public and police will exploit the illegal aspects as far as they can, nullifying any legality. This is why sex work has to be completely decriminalized across the board. No exceptions.

Because of this half-and-half system, they have no recourse against Sex141. Because of the market and the laws, the girls are regularly ripped off: unlike sex workers in the rest of the world, they’re afraid of getting the money upfront because the client will run away or call them a ripoff (I did not have that problem with the clients I had in HK — different market). They’re stuck with abusive clients and there is no legal recourse for them. After the murders in 2008, all the one-woman brothels had CCTVs installed and the images of bad clients are regularly printed out and circulated but there is no way to make sure every sex worker has that info. They have problems with clients every day, just like US sex workers.

This is not to say that the girls don’t want to work there because they do. It’s far safer than China and the money is better. The problem, as always, is illegality. The only solution, as always, is full decriminalization.

Read more

dec 17 in hk

Today I’m spending the day with Zi Teng in Hong Kong. This is a pre-scheduled post, I likely won’t write about today’s events for a while (as usual).

Today is December 17, The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (IDEVASW). For the history behind this relatively-new memorial day, please go to the official Dec 17 website, part of SWOP-USA.

I’ve written about Dec 17 here (my fave) and here. I’ve written about the shame, silence and death foisted upon American sex workers without our consent. Deborah Palfrey was a Dec 17 memorial victim and perfect example of how shame kills. I’ve written about survivors (that piece is offline right now) and some other scattered thoughts around Dec 17.

It’s just a calendar date, but the real meaning behind it is never too far from the front of anyone’s mind. Not if you’re a sex worker. Especially not if you’re in a criminalized country. Within the first five minutes of telling my mother I had decided to become an escort, she was predicting my death (actually, she predicted my dead body being found in a ditch, not the moment of death). I say this not to make fun of my mother — because I’m not — but that violence against sex workers is so endemic that it’s as an enduring stereotype as high heels and short skirts. This desperately needs to change. No sex worker I know considers violence part of the job description.

Sex worker deaths aren’t something that “happens”, it’s something that someone does.