by Charlotte Schmitz- Winner of the 2019 FotoEvidence W Award
La Puente by Charlotte Schmitz is the recipient of the first FotoEvidence W Award. Copyright 2019 FotoEvidence. All rights reserved. Photographs and notes Copyright© 2019 Charlotte Schmitz Photo Editor: Ilgin Deniz Akseloglu Design: Valentina Abenavoli Cover Design: João Linneu Text editor: Jasper Fabian Wenzel Translation: Brian Currid First edition ISBN: 13: 978-1-7324711-4-6
La Puente is the winner of the 2019 FotoEvidence W Award, given to a woman photographer for a personal project, selected by an international jury of women photographers and photo editors. The stunning photographs in La Puente were made in a large brothel in Ecuador where more than 150 women work. Women are misrepresented, and underrepresented in all forms of media and sex work is no exception. The majority of sex workers are women, yet most visual projects are done by men and often fail to accentuate how women want to be seen. La Puente gives a new perspective on a somewhat clichéd subject matter and creates a space for a nuanced and relatable depth to individuals by allowing them to create their own narratives and thus challenges stereotyping and common portrayals of sex workers. The images were created in collaboration with the women in La Puente, who chose their own poses and became part of the creative process by applying nail polish on their polaroids to hide their identities. This inclusion of women into the creative process allowed them to create their own narratives and thereby increase their representation. Participatory photography is a foundational method to Charlotte Schmitz’ art as it minimizes any unbalanced structure that appears as a result of the photographic process, and allows to form a deeper and more complex understanding of the people involved. Each cover is painted individually by the photographer with nail polish and becomes a unique piece. Titles and names on the cover are Charlotte Schmitz’ personal handwriting, connecting to her notes inside the book, which once were handwritten in La Puente, and now are accompanying the photographs throughout the book. Also the edges of all 500 books were painted personally by the photographer. The book measures 17x24", 132 pages and contains 98 polaroid, 13 bedsheet photographs and a personal narrative by the photographer.