Philip-Lorca diCorciaâ€™s â€œLucky 13â€ is a collection of thirteen full-body portraits. His subjects are pole dancers at work. Some people will be dismayed by his choice to shoot these women. Others will be disappointed by his impartial eye, which doesnâ€™t glamorize or vilify them. As for me, I was floored.
Itâ€™s become trendy to talk about the â€œmainstreamingâ€ of the sex industry. However, most images of sex work tend to be informed by one of two ideologies. According to the first, sex work is de facto awful and everyone who does it is a victim, or pure evil. According to the second, sex work is endless fun, and everyone who claims to have been hurt or exploited by the industry is a liar, and pure evil. â€œLucky 13â€ belongs to neither camp. The women in diCorciaâ€™s portraits donâ€™t look tragic, nor do they look like theyâ€™re having the time of their lives. They look like women at work.