All posts tagged: Charlotte Schmitz

Nail polish and polaroids: Charlotte Schmitz collaborates with sex workers

Located in the city of Machala, La Puente is southern Ecuador’s largest brothel. It has been operating as a family business for 45 years, employing 170 women who are paid $10 per client. Charlotte Schmitz, one of BJP’s Ones to Watch in 2019, first heard about the brothel while she was studying in Machala, aged 18. Returning a decade later as a photographer, Schmitz immersed herself into the brothel, befriending regulars and employees alike, and collaborating with the women to produce her first photobook, La Puente, a dazzling collection of polaroid photographs. Schmitz gave the women full agency over their images: they posed how they wanted, and had the option to anonymise or embellish their images using nail polish: “A great material, to paint, to cover, to enhance.” These bright and colourful images are accompanied by Schmitz’ rather sobering diary entries. “The men at the urinal lean on the wall with their lower arms casually. One man pees freehand and looks at his mobile,” she writes. Collaborative, inclusive, and impartial, La Puente is an antidote …


Ones to Watch 2019: Charlotte Schmitz

Each year, British Journal of Photography presents its Ones To Watch – a selection of 19 emerging image-makers, chosen from a list of nearly 750 nominations. Collectively, they provide a window into where photography is heading, at least in the eyes of the curators, editors, agents, festival producers and photographers we invited to nominate. Every weekend throughout May, BJP-online is sharing profiles of the 19 photographers, originally published in the magazine. Discover more here. Her choice of subjects – the refugee crisis in Europe, and prostitution in southern Ecuador – may suggest that Charlotte Schmitz is following the arguably well-trodden path of the documentary photographer. Which would not be unusual given her study of photojournalism and documentary photography at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hanover. Yet her approach is far from conventional, using collaboration and experimentation to get beyond the purely descriptive in order to produce work that is far more personal. “When she brings that originality to her photojournalism, the stories take on a new form,” says her nominator, Olivier Laurent, foreign …


BJP Staff