The archive of Tessa Boffin, photographer who worked in the 1980s, has now been catalogued. She specialised in sex, sexual fantasy,Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender issues, and looked at the portayal of AIDS, including AIDS in the media. Her archive also sheds light into the technical side of photography
It can be accessed online on Archives Hub at http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb3094boff.
Of note include her technical books on photography, her project books where Boffin analyses the media on topics such as AIDS, feminism, homosexuality, cross-dressing, for inspiration for photography ideas, her project work on ‘The Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune: AIDS and the Body Politic’, and her project ‘The Sailor and the Showgirl’, which explores cross-dressing, gender, and safe sex.
The biographical information of her life is as follows:
Tessa Boffin was born 24 December 1960. She was a lesbian photographer, writer, editor, and performance artist. Her work was at the front-line of international queer culture and politics. She initially studied photography in the mid 1980s at the Polytechnic of Central London, under the tutorship of Simon Watney. She undertook an MA in Critical Theory at the University of Sussex in 1987-1988.
Her teaching was as a part time photography lecturer at Adult Education, London from 1986 to 1987, worked at Oxford Polytechnic,1987 and 1989, worked at West Surrey College of Art and Design from 1988, Polytechnic of Central London, 1990, Kent institute of Art and Design from 1990.
She edited Ecstatic Antibodies in 1990 with Sunil Gupta, and co-curated the exhibition, which contributed to understanding of the role images played in the AIDS crisis, and in 1991 edited Stolen Glances: Lesbians Take Photographs, with Jean Fraser, which is contemporary lesbian photography. She was the first British lesbian doing political work around AIDS as early as 1985.
She died on 27th October 1993, while working as a lecturer at the Kent Institute for Art and Design
Tessa Boffin was a remarkable woman, and her archive sheds an evocative light of the portrayal of LGBT issues in the 1980s.
Rebekah Taylor, Archivist & Special Collections Officer