All posts tagged: Ecuador

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 …


Shedding light on the threat of large-scale mining in the Ecuadorian Amazon

“In my youth, I had a significant dream about the area of the Alta Amazonia, the place where I later based my project,” the Italian photographer Nicola Ókin Frioli tells BJP. “One day I met someone who confirmed I had a kind of calling to this area and advised me to go.”   Ókin took his first trip to the Ecuadorian Amazon in January 2015, which coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Alto Cenepa War, a conflict that broke out between Ecuador and Peru over disputed territory from 26 January to 28 February 1995. “It was a war of the governments, not of the natives. Yet they participated anyway as civilians in support of the inexperienced military,” explains Ókin. “For the indigenous people, particularly the Shuar and Achuar, it was a resistance because their territory was in danger.” Now, the indigenous communities are facing another imminent threat – that of large-scale mining. Rich in copper and gold, the Shuar and Achuar territories are in danger of being exploited and its inhabitants risk being forcibly …


BJP Staff