There are lots of ways to tackle a subject which resonates with our deepest sense of social shame such as prostitution. Do you focus on the women, the human beings forced to submit to this degrading profession for the gratification of others? Do you focus on the clients for whom the urge to indulge their lust rides roughshod over any sense of basic compassion? Do you focus on the pimps, the violent, manipulative masters of these women who connect supply and demand with such avaricious scruplessness?
All of these obviously have their merit, but I am struggling to remember a more affecting portrayal of this world than this arresting series by photographer David Emery. Called simply Brothel, David has documented the places where this profession plays out, the seedy buildings on the edges of towns and morality united only by their sexless sense of unbecoming ordinariness (although some of the settings are depressingly picturesque).
The haunting emptiness of his pictures paradoxically heightens their power – the odd parked car merely hints at the goings-on inside and cautions us against the temptation to dismiss these structures as just another roadside building. These may not be easy viewing but they’re certainly effective.
- Tom Phillips' magnum opus turned a Victorian novel into a work of art spanning 50 years
- Matisse-inspired posters for Serbian Youth Day from designer Monika Lang
- Raphael Schoen's cheerfully chaotic posters for a Swiss youth club
- Illustrators including Sam Taylor and Charlotte Mei's tributes to NWA's Straight Outta Compton
- The slides and sleep pods of LA's Silicon Beach startup scene captured by Lauren Greenfield
- Sarah Illenberger explores horticulture with her exotic new series Wonderplants
- A mind full of filthy ideas and creative brilliance: we visit Malika Favre
- The bizarre, twilight world of Berlin-based photographer Maxime Ballesteros
- Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam and Colophon create typeface that works with the Earth's tilt
- The Anonymous Sex Journal is back, and this issue is all about wanking
- The homeless Dirty Kids of America and their "rainbow party" explored in new film
- 12-year-old accidentally punches a hole $1.5 million painting