Strippers have sex with clients

The young Austrian photographer Stefanie Moshammer photographed strippers in Las Vegas for two months. "Vegas and She" is the name of the photo book that has now been published in the Fotohof edition. The project came about by chance, Moshammer told the "press". She met a stripper through a friend. "She introduced me to the scene and introduced me to other girls," says the photographer.

(c) Stefanie Moshammer

The 26-year-old photographed a total of seven women. The youngest of them was 21 years old, the oldest 50.

Tiania, 21, appears as Toni in the strip clubs. She started stripping when she was 19 - in a so-called "Nude Club" because, as an under-21-year-old, she was not allowed to work in clubs that serve alcohol.

(c) Stefanie Moshammer

For Moshammer, the camera was "like a key to a world that you would not otherwise enter. You immerse yourself in a world that is alien to you" - a world of representation and exhibitionism.

(c) Stefanie Moshammer

Their bodies turn women into goods and brands. "Most of them have operated breasts or lips," says the photographer. Cosmetic operations are "completely normal". The strippers "present a certain sex image." She found it fascinating how the body adapts to the city. "Las Vegas is a city stamped out of the desert, staged and surreal" - like the operated bodies of women.

(c) Stefanie Moshammer

The desert city of Las Vegas is a "Mecca of madness," says Moshammer. Developed in the gold rush and made great by gambling, the city in the US state of Nevada is now a tourist stronghold with two million inhabitants. Up to 40 million tourists come here every year. Most of all, they want to have fun.

(c) Stefanie Moshammer

The women who work in the strip clubs are self-employed, explains the photographer. You pay to perform there - and you have to tip everyone on the staff, from the doorman to the waitress. A "matter of respect," she says.

(c) Stefanie Moshammer

And prostitution? It's illegal in Nevada, but the girls are often approached, explains Moshammer. "It is up to you how far you go".

(c) Stefanie Moshammer

The separated VIP rooms, which allow more privacy, are checked by security, but there is a wide "gray area", according to the photographer. She believes that many customers in the VIP rooms expect more from the girls than just getting them undressed. "The men try to get the most out of it, and the women too - materially."

(c) Stefanie Moshammer

It is difficult for the strippers to tell their private life and job apart - because they get to know most of the men in the club.

(c) Stefanie Moshammer

One of the people photographed told her that some girls get involved with managers and are "practically paid" for their appearances with the best times.

(c) Stefanie Moshammer

There is a "total catfight" between the strippers for the best performance times, says Moshammer. The newcomers would have to work out their position. She also noticed how many drugs are involved, especially with young girls.

(c) Stefanie Moshammer

On her first outing, Moshammer went to the biggest strip club in Las Vegas. "It was like being in the zoo," she says. "There was every type, different physicality".

(c) Stefanie Moshammer

Moshammer had the strangest encounter of their stay away from the strip club. "A guy knocked on the door and questioned me. A week later I got a letter." In it he flatters her as "the most incredible, fascinating and beautiful woman I've ever seen" and invites her to stay with him. She also added this letter to her book.

(c) Stefanie Moshammer

Most women only work as strippers for a few years. Others stick with it, like 35-year-old Shannon. When she was 15, she started working in a strip club, first as a waitress. Now it is no longer a transitional job for her. "She says she'll do it as long as possible. If it doesn't work anymore, she thinks about what to do then."

(c) Stefanie Moshammer

The women were not shy of the camera, with one exception. A 23-year-old "who has never done that," says Moshammer. She moved to Las Vegas with her grandparents and then started stripping. She worked at Starbucks during the day and stripped in the evening to finance her education.

(c) Stefanie Moshammer

It was not discussed by the men, but rather by the women, says Moshammer: "There were girls who said 'You could do that too'".

Stefanie Moshammer: "Vegas and She", 35 euros, 112 pages, 57 color illustrations, published by Verlag Fotohof.

>> http://www.stefaniemoshammer.com/

(c) Stefanie Moshammer