Carnival Strippers by Susan Meiselas

“From 1972 to 1975, I spent my summers photographing and interviewing women who performed striptease for small town carnivals in New England, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. As I followed the girl shows from town to town, I photographed the dancers’ public performances as well as their private lives. I also taped interviews with the dancers, their boyfriends, the show managers, and paying customers.

The women I met ranged in age from seventeen to thirty-five. Most had left small towns, seeking mobility, money and something different from what was prescribed or proscribed by their lives that the carnival allowed them to leave. They were runaways, girlfriends of carnies, club dancers, both transient and professional.

They worked out of a traveling box, a truck that unfolded to form two stages, one opening to the public carnival grounds, another concealed under a tent for a private audience. A dressing room stands between them. Again and again, throughout the day and night, the woman performers moved from the front stage, with its bally call—the talker’s spiel that entices the crowd—to the stage, where they each perform for the duration of a 45 pop record”.

From Susan Meislas’ book “Carnival Strippers” 1976

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USA. Essex Junction, Vermont. 1974. The managers. (CARNIVAL STRIPPERS, page 15) ©Susan Meiselas/Magnum Photos

USA. Tunbridge, Vermont. 1975. Competing for clients. Contact email: New York : photography@magnumphotos.com Paris : magnum@magnumphotos.fr London : magnum@magnumphotos.co.uk Tokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jp Contact phones: New York : +1 212 929 6000 Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00 London: + 44 20 7490 1771 Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771 Image URL: http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RWU3E8&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm

USA. Tunbridge, Vermont. 1974. Lulu and Debbie. (CARNIVAL STRIPPERS, page 84-85) ©Susan Meiselas/Magnum Photos

USA. Essex Junction, Vermont. 1973. Lena on the Bally Box. Contact email: New York : photography@magnumphotos.com Paris : magnum@magnumphotos.fr London : magnum@magnumphotos.co.uk Tokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jp Contact phones: New York : +1 212 929 6000 Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00 London: + 44 20 7490 1771 Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771 Image URL: http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RWSE2Q&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm

USA. Essex Junction, Vermont. 1973. Curtain call. Contact email: New York : photography@magnumphotos.com Paris : magnum@magnumphotos.fr London : magnum@magnumphotos.co.uk Tokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jp Contact phones: New York : +1 212 929 6000 Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00 London: + 44 20 7490 1771 Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771 Image URL: http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RWMZIP&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm

USA. Showhegan, Maine. 1973. Shortie and Larry getting ready. (CARNIVAL STRIPPERS, page 24) ©Susan Meiselas/Magnum Photos

USA. Barton, Vermont. 1974. Lena. (CARNIVAL STRIPPERS, page 26-27) ©Susan Meiselas/Magnum Photos

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Posted on October 16, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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