Nevada Rose: Inside the American Brothel

Marc McAndrews, essays by Patty Kelly, interview by Bill Higgins. Umbrage (umbragebooks.com), $40 (144p) ISBN 978-1-884167-15-7
A gritty collection of photographs (and exhaustive inventory) of Nevada's legal brothels, this book reveals a wide cross-section of humanity, Americana, and femininity while eschewing a sensational perspective on sex work. With one in 10 American men admitting to have paid for sex, feminist anthropologist Kelly, in her introduction, calls the brothels of Nevada "among the last honest places in America." They are "American culture writ large"; they are both sprawling ranches with pools, private gyms, and salons for the sex workers and humble shacks advertising free Wi-Fi along with their more exotic services. McAndrews's panoramas of the wide Nevada sky and sagebrush highlight the isolation of each brothel; his interiors, with the lush greens and maroons of an Edward Hopper painting, draw our attention, matter-of-factly, to the detritus of quotidian brothel lifeā€”the ubiquitous bottles of hand sanitizer and wet wipes, the timers, the panic buttons. And the women themselves are a revelation. Their bodies have been variously augmented and marked by tattoos and stretch marks, and they look into the camera, directly at the viewer, with self-possession, humor, and irony. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
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