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Inspiration

The 1912 Storyville Prostitutes from New Orleans (NSFW)

By Hanssie on November 14th 2013

In an attempt to control the rampant prostitution in New Orleans in the early 1900’s, the City Council legalized prostitution in 1898 in a 38-block area of the French Corner. Dubbed, “Storyville,” after the council member who proposed the idea, the area remained a red light district until 1917.

[REWIND: Criminal Portraits: Classy Mugshots From The 1920′s]

American photographer E.J. Bellocq, secretly documented the prostitutes in Storyville as a side project. Different from his usual work photographing landmarks, ships and machinery, his glass negative plates were undiscovered until after his death. Lee Friedlander, acquired the photographs and reprinted the images for an exhibit at a museum.

He later published them into a book, E.J. Bellocq Storyville Portraits. Only a few photographs of Storyville from this time period remain and interestingly, in many of Belloq’s images the faces are mysteriously scratched out or the women are wearing masks. Was this for the sake of anonymity? In any case, these portraits afford a visual record of a provocative period of history over a century ago.

[Warning: Some of these images may be NSFW]

Storyville-portraits-1 Storyville-portraits-2 Storyville-Portraits-4 Storyville-Portraits-5 storyville-portraits-6 storyville-portraits-7 Storyville-portraits-8 storyville-portraits-15 Storyville-portraits-14 Storyville-portraits-13 Storyville-portraits-9

[via @So Bad So Good/Additional Images via @Belloq Women]

About

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com and www.fittedmagazine.com. Follow her on Instagram. Email her at:
[email protected]

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