Lea Golda Holterman – Private View
Sponsored By: London Photographic Association & The Assembly Rooms.
Exile: an image of women, women as an image.
Lea's work is striking and dark, as soon as you walk into the friendly environment of the private view you are struck by the obvious depth and darkness of the images.
Based south of Tel Aviv, Israel, in just three streets, Lea met and negotiated with women working as prostitutes eventually managing to photograph these women, producing shocking, iconic images. Many of the women photographed had not left these three streets in almost six years.
Each image relates to a myth, such as the stories of Hercules and Aphrodite.
All these images are available to buy from Gallery 1839 – Details at bottom.
We were lucky enough to speak to Lea all about her inspiration and her work.
We asked what her feelings were on the matters of Prostitution and whether her work was inspired by her own life and feelings. She said she does not believe in calling women prostitutes; she calls them working women and also views men as prostitutes, slaves to the power of these overtly sexual women. She believes that sex is an object and a concept, used in trade rather than in earnest to manipulate people.
Many of her images use many trade mark fashion poses, such as the ‘Crucifixion' and ‘Hercules after Battle'. These poses represent women being abused in the media, being taught tempting, come hither poses that are completely manufactured. Lea would like to see powerful, naturally sexy women in the media.
Her images with fashionable poses are gob smacking. As you look closer you can see the scars from abuse and ribs showing through skin like most catwalk models only the situation and surroundings are real and disgraceful. These images all show myths distorted into reality.
Lea sees all these poses as a myth of women's femininity and sexy–ness. The ‘models' are indifferent to nudity and sex as they have learnt through a life of prostitution and abuse to detach mind from body. This damages relationships for the rest of these women's lives and Lea believes that although some people can be recovered from this state of detachment, others have come too far and been through too much to recover and Lea knows now that she cannot save these women.
The first thing Lea wanted to do was to give these women a face. They were already the symbol of sex and she wanted to world to be exposed to this distorted and dangerous reality.
Lea focuses on the men that go to prostitutes, not in her photography but in our interview. She sees them as the slaves. These men have money, beautiful clothes, families and wealthy lives but still feel they need to go to poor, damaged women and pay £5 for sex. She believes there must be ‘something evil' engrained in these men and doesn't understand how men can justify this lame existence and behaviour towards women.
I asked Lea how the public have been affected by her images so far.
She says that it has been a very exciting response. When her images were published in Israel it was all over the news for at least a year, and the government threw a large amount of money into ‘cleaning up' this area, taking the women somewhere safe and trying to rehabilitate them. Lea was also asked to help a main TV station in Israel create a documentary; the station tried to send in their own men to film these women but were beaten and chased away.
This huge amount of publicity means that Lea's work has changed many women's lives, as she says ‘it's something you dream of doing as a student' changing the world for the better.
Now showing in London I asked if Lea was thinking of extending this project to other parts of the world. Lea has thought about Amsterdam, as she visited the red light district and went all over Europe on her way to London.
Mainly she is interested in starting a project in Japan following Geishas as they have their young personalities erased to make way for one that entertains men correctly and are then sold into a life of fakery and naivety. As you can imagine, the geisha visual mixed with the dark theory of self identity will create more beautiful, dark images.
Rest assured if and when this project begins, we plan to follow it every step of the way.
Lea Golda Holterman's work is stunning and iconic. The theories and ideas behind it sound. Go to our gallery to see the full selection of images and look out for more of her projects on Fashion Capital.
For more information on Lea Golda Holterman's work and to buy prints please go to
or contact Kevin O'Connor on 0208 392 8557