Born in Newcastle, Australia, Vee Speers studied at the Queensland College of Art and worked as a
stills photographer for ABC television before moving to France in
the early 90’s. Speers now lives and works in Paris near rue St. Denis, a place which she describes as
possessing ‘unlimited potential and endless creative inspiration.’
Rue Saint-Denis is one of the oldest streets in Paris; originally laid out in the 1st century by the Romans, the street extends from the 1st arrondissement and Rue de Rivoli to the south to the 2nd arrondissement and the boulevard Saint-Denis to the north. From the Middle Ages to the present day, the street has become notorious as a place of prostitution and has inspired numerous artists including Monet and Brassai. These historical references combined with her own fascination with
the cabarets of Pigalle has taken Speers into the bordellos and their surroundings where she has blurred the boundaries of the real and the staged.
“From my window I can see the girls waiting downstairs in the doorways,
and it has always fascinated me how these women display their bodies up
and down the street like gaudy trinkets in a second-hand shop. Although I created my own interpretation from historical references
and old images, I primarily wanted to use the idea as a gateway to something
The series was produced as Fresson
carbon prints, using pigmented gelatin as opposed to metal particles or chromogenic dyes suspended in a
uniform layer of gelatin. The process produces very high quality prints, exceptionally resistant to fading and other deterioration and with a slight bas-relief effect and variation of texture on the surface. A labor intensive, time consuming and technologically demanding process but the results exhibit a painting-like quality unmatched in modern darkroom techniques.
Although Speers has a background in both fashion photography and photojournalism, she is well established as a fine art photographer. Her work has appeared in several publications and has been exhibited in London, Paris,
Japan, Italy, Tunisia and South America as well as in her native