Lee Grant – Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘cuba

Cyber-travelling and the booty you find…

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Here’s a funny photo of a punter enjoying (I think!?) my image of Ken the bodybuilder in the Head On exhibition at the ACP:


Courtesy Australian Centre for Photography

Anyway I thought it was a bit of a laugh. Not sure who the photographer was so apologies for not citing you.

I’ve been cruising around the internet checking out various links that have come up with some real gems. Whilst this is probably not the best use of my time (especially given I have a thesis review next week!) I find these explorations always reveal treasures and this week has been spectacular. For the doubters and nay-sayers, diss not and do give it a go cos as they say…. there really is something for everyone!

First treasure up is an all American chap called Marc McAndrews. His work at first glance is brash and loud, but I couldn’t resist a closer look at the brilliantly titled Nevada Rose. The American state of Nevada is the only state where brothels are legal and McAndrews took it upon himself to photograph every single one of them…. really. The result of this massive task is a poignant look at the brothels, resident sex-workers, their patrons and other workers, such as cleaners, in the brothel industry, which will soon be released as a book.




I find these images really fascinating (I have a terrible soft-spot for American kitsch and it looks like the Nevada brothels are the place to find it!) yet I am almost more interested in the dynamics of how this project was undertaken, particularly given the “objective and anthropological” investigation of the photographer. Worth reading the interview on Humble Arts as it is an interesting insight into the artist’s motivation for the subject, as well as the issues that arise from such a choice.

It would also be interesting to compare McAndrews’ forthcoming book with that of Alexa Albert whose journey into:

…Nevada’s infamous cathouses began as a public-health study into the safe-sex practices of these legal working girls and the effectiveness of condom requirements in preventing sexually transmitted diseases. It took her three years to gain access to the brothels, and when her project was eventually approved by the head of the Nevada Brothel Association, she was surprised to be invited to stay at Mustang Ranch, among the women of the brothel, for the duration of her research. She learned that despite the legalization of prostitution in several counties of Nevada, the working girls still faced restrictive local ordinances and work regulations that kept them virtual prisoners inside the brothel compound. Outside, they encountered the same social stigma that has always haunted sex workers.

In 2003, the year following the publication of her book  Brothel: Mustang ranch and its Women which was based on her years of research, Albert and (architectural) photographer Timothy Hursley returned to Nevada to photograph the brothels, the result of which is the book Brothels of Nevada. Not having seen the contents of this book (other than the sneak-preview on Amazon), I wonder how the two might sit alongside each other? Perhaps it’s time to move my Amazon list to the checkout and find out!?

My second and last treasure find for tonight is some work by another Dutch wunderkind Desiree Dolron, who is very well known for the following picture, from her series Xteriors:

01-Desiree-Dolron-Xteriors-IICourtesy Desiree Dolron

But it’s her earlier series from Cuba titled Te Di Todos Mi Suenos (“I gave you all my dreams”) that really grabbed my attention. The images are simple yet exquisite and quiet yet so full of longing. I feel as if I could fall into these pictures, into the dirty yet earthy home of a fairytale and into a mythic Cuba that never really was:

07-Desiree-Dolron-Cerca-San-RafaelCerca San Rafael (Courtesy Desiree Dolron)

19-Desiree-Dolron-Cerca-San-FernandiaCerca san Fernandia (Courtesy Desiree Dolron)

10-Desiree-Dolron-Cerca-IndustriaCerca Industria (Courtesy Desiree Dolron)