An architect by training, I am deeply inspired by the kind of “non-pedigreed” architecture explored by Bernard Rudofsky. After working extensively in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, I live in Paris, where I follow the daily lives of independent prostitutes working in a park on the outskirts of the city.
Every weekday, from 7:00 am to 3pm in the afternoon, rain or shine, these women come to work in the Bois de Boulogne. Some of them have been at it for more than 25 years. In the afternoon, they hitchhike or take a taxi out of their assigned space to enjoy their evenings as “normal people.” Whether in their little truck or underneath their makeshift “tent,” I observed these women and transvestites in their workspace. They speak with an astonishing amount of pride and affection of their profession and customers. This tenderness, which they call “the love of others,” can be seen in the care they take to provide comfort to their clients, many of them regulars: mattresses, a radiator, a CB radio, mirrors, furs, candles, incense and sex toys.
These confined and decorated spaces, their “offices,” reflect their femininity and the respect they have for their profession, for which they must fight on a daily basis. This appropriation of a residual space that wants to be a structured framework is nothing other than the materialization of this affection.
Elodie Chrisment, 27, is a French photographer. She lives and works in Paris.