Elevate Difference

The Chez Girls

"Stripping isn't evil, it's just a thing some girls do to get by." Or is it? The overly glamorized life of strippers tells society about the money and the desire, but Tyler Ondine Whitman tells about another aspect that is often swept under the rug.

Whitman is trying to tell an untold story – with over 100 photographs and only about six-ten pages of actual writing, she captures the perfect mix of rawness and emotion needed to portray what life as a stripper is like. These photos show the true bodies of women, who are actually living the life that is only characterized on television or in photos. They aren't perfect bodies modified by plastic surgery, but, rather, they show aspects of all women of the world: large breasts, small breasts, curvy, thin. "When I came face to face with the dancers – I was shocked – none of them looked like airbrushed Barbie dolls. They looked so real."

Whitman breaks down the happenings behind the closed doors of strip clubs. She tells about the possibility of making an extra $20 here or there (all you have to do is give a client a handjob), and she talks about the prospects of Vice busting in. The most heartbreaking aspectis when we learn what Whitman faces when she becomes close with one girl: some of the strippers thought they had no where to turn, no other job prospects.

The photos are real. The grainy, black and white images are almost haunting. They depict the daily life and work of a stripper: counting her money, swinging around a pole, getting dressed, displaying her body for all to see. "I'd never actually seen a lap dance. She laid it out."

Written by: Megan Blair, July 2nd 2007