E. J. Bellocq was a commercial photographer in New Orleans during the first half of the 20th century. After his death, a collection of negatives – portraits of prostitutes from New Orlean’s red light district – were discovered. Purchased decades later by photographer Lee Friedlander, many of these portraits from 1912-1915 were featured in an exhibition and published.
Several of the images were deliberately damaged. Most notably, the faces of several women were scraped out. This would have occurred during the emulsion process, so Bellocq was most likely responsible.