Charlotte Schmitz

Photographer
  
la Puente
Location: Istanbul
Nationality: German
Biography: Charlotte has developed very consistent and original work about the issues that affect her as a young contemporary woman. She is building a very interesting narrative using compelling images to convey a deliberately personal approach. She has... read on
Public Story
la Puente
Credits: charlotte schmitz
Updated: 06/06/19
Location: Machala Ecuador
2016-2018

La Puente is the biggest brothel in southern Ecuador in the city of Machala, where 170 women are working. The word Puente means bridge, in Spanish a masculine noun (el puente), adapted to the trade, feminized the word.

The photos were created in collaboration with the women, who chose their own poses and later painted with nail polish on their polaroids. The nail polish was initially used to provide anonymity, but quickly developed into a creative instrument. Not only their chosen poses, but also the use of nail polish tell about the women’s inner and outer perceptions. Working with polaroid 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 sphere of the creative process.  The work transforms the women from passive sources into active agents, showing them how they want to be seen, rather than how they are seen by society.


The artist was given original bed sheets by the women, which become part of the work and exhibitions, as they are the only personal items in the rooms of La Puente. Along with the polaroids and bed sheets, videos of the women and music become part of the installations. La Puente won the first W-Award by FotoEvidence and will be published in November 2019.


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