Lindsey Max: Stripped
What makes a twenty-three-year-old woman walk into strip club strapped with a camera to photograph the working life of strippers? That is the question I am thinking to myself when I meet Lindsey Max at the Atlanta Celebrates Photography Portfolio Review in October 2016. On first look at her portfolio, I am impressed by the technical quality of the series, “Stripped.” On second glance, I am impressed by the fearlessness of a young photographer who doesn’t take the easy path of exploiting her subjects within the adult entertainment industry by preying on their vulnerability. Instead, she pays tribute to the dancers and the details of their lives in their chosen profession. Max confessed to me that body image had been a personal issue for her and she is impressed by the fact that the strippers, sometimes with imperfect figures, feel confident enough in their bodies to take the stage with power and confidence. Instead of exposing the dark and seedy underworld of what most of us imagine a stripper’s life to be, Max shows us that stripping too is a business and the women working within the industry are trying to make a living with the same drive of professionalism most of us have within our own careers. Ultimately, Max, with her camera in hand, steers away from the typical objectifying imagery of female entertainers and conversely brings their dignity and strength to light.
Lindsey Max is a documentary photographer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Growing up in Washington, D.C., she received her very first camera when she was seven years old. Inspired by her frequent travels and the National Geographic magazines her parents kept around the house, Lindsey quickly took to photography, though she did not receive any formal training on the subject until she was twelve years old. When she was seventeen, she had the opportunity to travel to India on a National Geographic Student Expedition. This trip led her to realize the importance of having a sociocultural knowledge of her subject. Thus she decided to forgo art school to immerse herself in the study of anthropology and religion. Having completed her Bachelors in Anthropology and religion from Emory University, Lindsey is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
It is curious, how something can be both public and private; how a strip club can sit right on a highly trafficked road, its parking lot and its customers in plain view of all who drive by. The second you step inside, however, you are in a completely different world, a world of anonymity and aliases, a world where the private is made public. In photographing these adult entertainment centers and the dancers who work in them, I explore the relationship between the shared and the intimate. While all women are objectified in some way at some point in their lives, one could argue that exotic dancers make a career out of it. These images combat this notion of objectification. They strip away stereotypes and judgment to find the beauty and diversity in this art form, to show that these women are not to be pitied or looked down upon. These are women whose confidence and power is to be admired and celebrated.
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