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What inspired you to put together your book Alleykat 08?
It actually arose from a request from Travis to select 10 images for the SNAP exhibition during Midsumma this year. It prompted me to dig back through my photos for the year and realised that I had a substantial body of work. Choosing just ten was too hard so I decided to try out one of the online publishing services that have sprung up on the internet.

I made it initially to give as a thank you to the performers and promoters who have allowed me to stick my camera in their faces. For me, scene photography requires a weird combination of trust and bloody mindedness. Indeed, initially I found the women’s scene quite tough to break into – to get people to trust me. Now I get more complaints when I don’t take somebody’s photo! I am actually quite shy and sensitive but I find myself driven and compelled to photograph what I feel is this amazing cultural moment. The vitality and diversity of the Melbourne queer girls’ scene is continuing to grow.

Looking back over the year’s work, I recognise people who are now good friends. They are no longer faces in the crowd but fully formed people with personal histories and relationships. Indeed, one of the remarkable responses to the book is the excitement of people at seeing themselves, their friends and their community reflected in print.

What are some of the favourite photos in the book?
I’m very proud of my photographs of Crystal Love. She is so awesome. And Rabbit Hutch is a remarkable subject and a great performer, I’m a fan. But one photograph that has received a lot of response of the one of the woman dancing at SpeigelBent. I have not been able to track her down. I know the two boys in the background but I still don’t know who she is! She is so awesome – strong and beautiful.

About Alison Bennett

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