“La Puente” with Charlotte Schmitz

Women are misrepresented and underrepresented in all forms of media, and sex work is no exception. The majority of sex workers are women, yet most visual projects are done by men and often fail to accentuate how women want to be seen. “La Puente” gives a new perspective on a somewhat clichéd subject matter and creates a space for a nuanced and relatable depth to individuals by allowing them to create their own narratives and thus challenges stereotyping and common portrayals of sex workers. The images were created in collaboration with the women in “La Puente,” who chose their own poses and became part of the creative process by applying nail polish on their polaroids to hide their identities. This inclusion of women into the creative process allowed them to create their own narratives and thereby increase their representation. Participatory photography is a foundational method to Charlotte Schmitz’s art as it minimizes any unbalanced structure that appears as a result of the photographic process, and allows the viewer to form a deeper and more complex understanding of the people involved. “La Puente” is the winner of the 2019 FotoEvidence W Award, given to a woman photographer for a personal project, selected by an international jury of women photographers and photo editors.

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