This series is about mannequins who have seen better days. Although many were once undoubtedly used to sell merchandise in fancy upscale stores, that's no longer the case. The mannequins that comprise "Working Girls" are in a serious state of decline. They are old, worn and broken, suffering from years of neglect, weather and abuse. But, all are still "working" in the poorer neighborhoods of cities like Los Angeles where they stand in front, or in the windows, of shops that sell cheap clothing to the less advantaged. The ladies in this series have lived life and their faces and bodies show it, but I believe their downtrodden appearances reveal a strange and beguiling beauty missing from their fancier sisters.
I commenced shooting "Working Girls" in 2002. Early on, the project was shot in black-and-white with medium format film cameras. The images were quite difficult to capture, as many of the merchant shop owners (some selling illegal knockoffs) are suspicious of anyone with a camera, so they refuse to allow pictures to be taken and sometimes physically try to block any photographic efforts. This wariness precluded use of a tripod, which would greatly have assisted in capturing much-needed depth-of field and would have enabled use of optimum ISO settings. Using color film was never suitable because the high ISOs required for this type of project produced altered colors and too much grain.
When digital cameras and sensors improved, I recommenced shooting the project digitally, which enabled hand-held shooting with accurate colors and at ISO settings that permitted hand-held photography and good depth of field.
As with my other projects, there is no manipulation in any of the "Working Girls" images. All were shot hand-held and appear exactly as encountered on the street.
Hope you like the ladies as much as I do.