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London Burlesque – A Family Album

Pho­tog­ra­ph­er Angus Stew­art spent ten years back­stage with London’s bur­lesque com­mu­ni­ty, get­ting to know the per­form­ers and doc­u­ment­ing their shared world to cre­ate what he calls​‘a fam­i­ly album’. From the begin­ning, his focus was on the per­son­al­i­ties, rather than the per­for­mances. He delib­er­ate­ly eschews the​‘big reveal’. Instead, his pho­tographs cap­ture the friend­ships, the laugh­ter and the cama­raderie that char­ac­terise the bur­lesque scene. We are intro­duced to a thriv­ing com­mu­ni­ty that val­ues ded­i­ca­tion and loy­al­ty, and where the exot­ic is always laced with humour; and we hear from per­form­ers Belle de Beau­voir, REIx, Lady Cheek, Lady May, and Lynn Ruth Miller. Bur­lesque can be provoca­tive, it can be polit­i­cal, and it can be seri­ous. But it can also be a lot of fun.

I dis­cov­ered that while some per­form­ers earn a liv­ing from bur­lesque, most have oth­er jobs – any­thing from seam­stress­es to doc­tors, to com­pa­ny direc­tors. This huge melt­ing pot of pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ence, cou­pled with a vari­ety of rea­sons for want­i­ng to per­form, means that per­son­al devel­op­ment is encour­aged. It’s an incred­i­bly sup­port­ive com­mu­ni­ty, and I want­ed to try to cap­ture that spir­it.’ – Angus Stewart

Angus Stew­art is a Lon­don-based pho­tog­ra­ph­er with a focus on social doc­u­men­tary pho­tog­ra­phy and por­trai­ture. His work with the cir­cus, bur­lesque and cabaret com­mu­ni­ties in Lon­don has pro­duced a col­lec­tion of work that depicts not just the activ­i­ty on stage, but the cast of char­ac­ters that sup­ports it.

Angus Stewart
Jean-Michel Dentand

25 × 20cm
10 × 8 in
144pp plus 9 gatefolds
73 black and white photographs
Published in a numbered edition of 1,000 copies
£50 | $75

ISBN 978-1-911422-37-2