Under the title of Screams in the Night, is hidden the caption of each of the photographs that Guy Monnet brought back from the Philippines. The people and places he photographed are on the margins of the sex paradises of Manila or Angeles frequented by foreign tourists, and are part of an ordinary prostitution, miserable and rather intended for the inhabitants of the Philippine archipelago.
The photographic project was born of the photographer’s indignation at the humiliating living conditions of women who make a meager trade of their bodies, immersed in insalubrity and exposed to daily violence. As shocking as they may be, the images in the series were only possible after meetings and exchanges with the prostitutes about the purpose of the photographic project they approved of and, in a way, shared.
The moments of shooting have nothing to do with the routine work of these women who are invited by the photographer to relax as they wish. The interior of the Casas – the name used to designate brothels – are dirty and poorly lit slums, with dilapidated walls covered with inscriptions and various signs, with furniture restricted to a chair and a pallet. In this dismal and darkened decor, Guy Monnet manages to compose, thanks to the little light, portraits as tragic frescoes covered with an obscure fabric in dark and gray tones.
The girls occupy this time differently. Some of them remain seated on the bed in a state of prostration, the others go on solitary occupations. They look at each other in a mirror, shower, touch, squeeze their breasts, caress each other like that obese old woman who puts her hand on her sex over the huge bulge of her belly. In a snapshot, these women discover that they not only have a body, but that they are a body, and the photographer discreetly collects these clues of self-belonging and of an indestructible dignity. He rekindles, beyond the bruises of faces and bodies, the spiritual light that never ceased to shine.
Guy Monnet – Screaming in the night
Until March 2
Espacio Jhannia Castro
Rua Adolfo Casais Monteiro 16