Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Photo Story: Nit 22 and Bell 20 Gogo Bar Dancers

This portrait was made as part of my sex worker series on white backgrounds. The picture was shot in 2007 and shows  Nit and Bell two workers from a gogo bar in  Pattaya Thailand. This image was part of my show at Visual Arts Alberta back in 2012.

Some tech stuff. The photos were made with a 8x10 Kodak Master View camera, and 300mm Nikon lens. For the most part I shot Tri-x film and developed everything in Jobo tanks. The studio setup was was 4 speedotron flashes, two on the subject with large soft boxes and 2 on the background, the power supply was a 4800watt setup with a power transformer for Thailand.

What I remember most about these two young workers was the bar they worked in. I expected to see many gay Western male sex tourist customers. There was some of that but there was even more women in the bar when I was there. I saw many older Thai women there touching and caressing the dancers, which I found rather surprising. The worker makes a cut from each drink they can get the customer to buy for them.

The bikinis these guys are wearing and the numbers are as they appear on stage, dancing in the bar. The numbers are not so much to objectify them as to avoid pointing which is considered rude. The customer would give the number to if they wanted the worker to sit with them. If they find someone they like and the worker agrees to leave with them they pay a barfine to the bar. The idea of a barfine is that you are taking the worker out early so the bar wants to be compensated for the rest of the nights lost attendance. The worker would arrange a separate price with the customer for other duties, a shortime or longtime cost.


Here is an online link to the VAAA show, exhibition video.


"Nit, 22, Bell, 20, Gogo Bar Workers", 20" x 24", silver gelatin print