The human qualities of women in the sex industry are often overlooked or ignored. These women are not seen as someone’s daughter, sister, mother, wife, or friend. The harsh realities of the industry overshadow their individuality. Drug abuse, crime, poverty, mental illness, or desperation are more often highlighted by media. Sex industry workers are ordinary people. Some have families, multiple jobs, and life stories that are not unlike a multitude of people who are outside the industry. This photo ethnography focuses on Denver female sex workers as ordinary people rather than the stigmatized and sensationalized mainstream media presentation.
In 2015, I received the Larsh Bristol Photography Fellowship, which I used to spend time with sex workers in the Denver, CO area. I spent several days with each woman, following them in their daily lives. The produced exhibit shares the stories of seven sex workers, using their voice in the narratives, and imagery from their daily experiences. The digital exhibit is permanently housed on the University of Wyoming digital collections website and has been presented at several conferences and social justice forums.