170 women work in the biggest brothel of South Ecuador, in the city of Machala. It is called "La Puente“, the word "puente" comes from the Spanish word bridge. It is actually a masculine noun (el puente) but was adapted to fit the context and thus feminized.
My photos were developed in collaboration with the women working in the brothel, so it was important for me to choose a medium that would give them full control over their identity. Working with a polaroid camera gave the women the possibility to control and personalize their own photos. To protect their identity, many of the women painted with nail polish on their own pictures. It was initially used to hide identity, but quickly developed into a creative process and even a way of staging the world within the brothel. The women decided how they wanted to be photographed. Not only their selected poses, but also the use of nail polish tell about the women’s inner and outer perceptions.
This collaboration made it possible to form a deeper and more complex understanding of the women in the brothel because they represent and define themselves independently. This project is not a classical work about prostitution it is rather about the inner and outer perceptions of women working in »La Puente« and about the general sexualized picture of women in our society.