This analogue and beautifully nostalgic photo-series was submitted by Keeley Bentley from Blackpool, in the North of England.
Along her creative work Keeley wrote:
“The Vegas of the North originated out of a study that forms my on-going photographic practice; that environs the adolescent female and her place within the photographic canon. The idea that images of young girls are fed so unconsciously to us through various sources; Hollywood Cinema, Fashion advertisements, Fine Art and Porn. Leads the adolescent girl to provoke narratives of sexual desire, voyeurism, hysteria and nostalgia. Short pleated skirts and knee high socks, all feature in the Hollywood films I have been supplied with being a millennial girl. Yet, for me the pleated skirt was something that I was furnished with aged twelve to wear for school. I considerate my own experiences as founding factor to this project, and can say I got wolf whistled at more on my way home from school than I ever have in my twenties, how is that right? This venture is based on presenting the viewer with a realisation of how uncomfortable we as girls feel when supplied to anyone else’s voyeuristic pleasure. Yet, the project took a turn when out on location we were supplied with the ‘male gaze’ quiet naturally. Every time I got a model and took her to the location in the clothing supplied we would be followed and subjected to men, even with their wives looking at my model like she was his wildest fantasy. I went around my hometown of Blackpool, with no intention of keeping the photographs, which the men became a part of. Yet I realised that this made the work a performative act that tries on these modes of looking and confront them at the same time, I was able to present enough space in the series to rethink the performative space between the model and myself, I was able to nostalgically identify with the adolescent body from my own youth, yet understand that it was there to be desired. The lateral relations that were brought into this process, allowed me to play around with the performative space of both myself (the photographer), the model (being a girl) and the viewer (the male).”