Julia Fullerton-Batten: Not Your Slave

“Always say yes!” is a widely spread principle when it comes to satisfying your guest or your customer.

But there are (or were) times when this noble motif threatened to create less noble situations. This becomes clear when taking a look “In Service”,
a project by the unquestionably talented photographer Julia Fullerton-Batten. Her pictures are meticulously structured and magnificently staged and they display the alarming details of this tricky principle.

The artist, who lives in London, explains on her homepage that she wanted to show the living conditions of English servants around the time of Edward 7th (1901 – 1911) from a new perspective. She desired to create a new image apart from the popular mainstream notion of lovingly cared-for servants who lived in splendour and prosperity.

The sad truth is that more than one million people worked at the houses of wealthy Englishmen in order to escape their miserable and poor lives. Much to their chagrin, especially to many women’s chagrin, abuse and sexual assaults happened frequently.

Julia Fullerton Batten impressively incorporates those situations into wonderful art nouveau structures in which she includes aesthetic interpersonal scenes but at the same time she always manages to shine a light on the slight terror the pictures are about, even if it sometimes only becomes clear at a second glance.