• Charlotte SCHMITZ

La Puente}}

This project consists in a series of polaroids taken in collaboration with women working in La Puente, the biggest brothel of South Ecuador – they chose their own poses and some applied nail polish to hide their identity, while others used it as a creative tool to stage the world within the brothel.

170 women work in the biggest brothel of South Ecuador, in the city of Machala. It is called "La Puente“. The word "puente" comes from the Spanish word “the bridge”. It is a masculine noun (el puente) but was adapted to fit the context and thus feminized.
These photos were developed in collaboration with the women working in La Puente.

Choosing a medium that would give them full control over their identity was very important – working with a polaroid camera gave them the possibility to control and personalize their own photos. To protect their identity, many of the women painted their own pictures with nail polish. It was initially used to hide identity, but quickly developed into a creative

process and even a way of staging the world within the brothel. The women decided how they wanted to be photographed, they represented and defined themselves independently. Not only their selected poses, but also the use of nail polish tell about the women’s inner self.

Charlotte SCHMITZ

Charlotte Schmitz is an independent photographer whose approach to her work is deliberately personal and challenges the traditional documentary perspectives, which allows her to convey her messages on social issues. She studied photojournalism and documentary photography at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hanover. She is working for several German and international media outlets and is a member of Agence Le Journal. Charlotte speaks six languages.