Magazine article The New Yorker

Paging through the Demimonde

Magazine article The New Yorker

Paging through the Demimonde

Article excerpt

A cheerful sign photographed on the wall of a house in Nevada in 1987 reads, "SMILE: It's the 2nd Best Thing You Can Do with Your Lips." The risque wall hanging is the only hint that the room in the photograph is the otherwise genteel parlor of a brothel called the Shamrock, in the desert town of Lathrop Wells. The picture is one of more than a hundred and fifty views of largely unpopulated rooms in Brothels of Nevada (Princeton Architectural Press), a collection of work by the architectural photographer Timothy Hursley, who documents America's legal sex trade and also American vernacular style, from oversize trailer homes painted bubble-gum pink to shag-carpeted bedrooms where blow-up dolls peek out from closets panelled in faux wood.

A strong sense of place is absent from Lapdancer (PowerHouse Books), a collection of snapshots by Juliana Beasley, who started stripping in 1992 to support her photography career. …

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