Photo Shows – Debby Besford’s series The Boudoir of the Burlesque Performer on show at The Queen of Hungary Norwich

There is no particular order to the photographs. It is intended that the viewer spend time looking at the details of each interior, finding clues that only scratch the surface of the performer’s true identity. Debby Besford, The Boudoir of the Burlesque Performer

All photos © Debby Besford

Before I get accused of being London-centric, I’m delighted to let you know that photographer Debby Besford, who I met three years ago in Arles where I first saw this project, is exhibiting work from her series The Boudoir of the Burlesque Performer at theThe Queen of Hungary (what a fitting name) in Norwich. The show is open from 12-5pm and runs until 8 July. The work is also available as a book on Blurb.

In Besford’s artist’s statement she notes that: “These documentary photographs show the private interiors of the performers’ bedrooms. They play on the idea of what is real and what is fictional. The home-based domestic interiors are in themselves a theatre where the lives of the performers take on a different persona.

“Collaboration with these women has been a journey of immense trust and respect. I did not seek to deconstruct the female performer stereotype or their bedrooms but to explore how these women have taken on total responsibility for the acceptance of their image as well as the fantasies linked to public representation of their ‘acted bodies’.

“My work investigates a complexity of issues about the representation of the contemporary female, with emphasis on the Burlesque Stage Performer. This naturally led onto questioning both the idea of play between photographer, private space, intimacy, fantasy and the real, as well as the mystique of the performer.” From Besford’s artist statement

To see and read more…


“This body of work has evolved from a deep-rooted curiosity about female sexuality and how this can be expressed in a positive way. The New Burlesque Revival in the 21st Century could be seen as a reaction to women wanting to have fun with their sexuality and celebrate their femininity through a staged persona.

“The attraction for many of these women is that there is no dominant male structure behind these shows and full social and economic autonomy for these women is completely unlike a striptease artist. Both physical and moral integrity are preserved. Burlesque does not involve total nudity.”


All photos © Debby Besford

Filed under: Documentary photography, Photographers, Photography Shows, Women Photographers Tagged: burlesque, Debby Besford, documentary, Norwich, photo show, portraits, The Boudoir of the Burlesque Performer, The Queen of Hungary