Can we put humility aside for just a moment? Good. Utne Reader’s art director, Stephanie Glaros, is awesome. Not only does she singlehandedly shape what the magazine looks like, she also finds time to shoot evocative photography. Lately, Glaros has been shooting documentary portraits of interesting people she encounters outside of the office, including a photo essay submitted to JPG titled “The Girls Next Door,” which profiles the ordinary, hard-working women employed at a strip-club near her apartment.
“I was firm in my middle-class ‘feminist’ belief that stripping degraded women, and that guys who went to strip clubs disrespected women,” says Glaros. “But living next to a club changed that perception, and now I feel that supporting sex workers is the feminist thing to do.”
Glaros captures the women during their downtime; some touch up their make-up, enjoy a quick cigarette, or, in Giana’s case, work on homework for business school. “I now believe these girls deserve respect,” says Glaros, “or at the very least, tolerance. Many that I've spoken to are either students, or single mothers. They are trying to pay their bills and still have time to spend with their children, or to further their education. They should not be made to feel ashamed of how they earn their money.”