This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – with a decidedly female focus, the inaugural winner of the FotoEvidence W Award plus the sixth edition of Femmes PHOTOgraphes magazine. Also, entries are now open for the Maggie Diaz Photography Prize for Women (closing 21 June).
Charlotte Schmitz – La Puente
In the southern Ecuadorian city of Machala is La Puente, the region’s largest brothel where 170 women work. Schmitz first learned of La Puente when she was a teenager living in Machala. A decade later she returned, driven by curiosity and a desire to find out about this hidden world.
“Since then, hundreds of Polaroids, interviews and videos were made,” says Schmitz who collaborated closely with the women to make these pictures. The women chose the way they wanted to be represented and how they would pose, the also gave Schmitz bed sheets, the only personal items in the rooms. These became props in the pictures and exhibitions.
Nail polish also became a feature, a way to “provide anonymity” explains Schmitz. “But quickly (it) developed into a creative instrument, a way to beautify the world within the brothel…the use of nail polish (also) tells about the women’s inner and outer perceptions, raising questions…about the sexualized picture of women in our societies.”
“Working with Polaroids and nail polish gave them the possibility to control and personalize their own photos, breaking down the power structures in the artistic production itself, by letting the women enter the creative sphere.”
The FotoEvidence W (women) is a new award for FotoEvidence Press, which has published 22 books to date focusing on human rights violations. Charlotte Schmitz is the winner of the inaugural FotoEvidence W Award and La Puente which will be published later this year. I’m excited to see the finished book. Congratulations to FotoEvidence publisher Svetlana Bachevanova who continues to embrace new ways to tell documentary narratives.
Femmes PHOTOgraphes magazine
The sixth edition of Femmes PHOTOgraphes magazine features work that addresses ideas of power and resistance to ask what is the role of the individual and the collective in the face of oppression? Photographers featured include: Laurence Chellali, Rose Lecat, Aude Osnowycz, Livia Saavedra, Teresa Suarez, Oksana Yushko and Daniella Zalcman.
Launches Friday 14 June, 8pm, Atelier bookstore, 2 bis rue du Jourdain, 75020 Paris