Solange* is now a 57-year-old mother of 6 children. She was born in Algeria; she has been a prostitute for 25 years.
Women of ill repute, it has been a long time since I contemplated them. I was torn between loathing and questioning. I was slightly overwhelmed too. Who were they? What did they think about it? Once, I made up my mind to knock on their pane-windows of the vans, parked in the vicinity of Paris. I was determined to have a deeper insight of the Ladies.
Firstly, they try to seduce me as they are used to doing with the customers. They were alluring and smiling. Aloof yet. Just one of them, the eldest of all, Solange who is 57, agreed finally to pose in my photographer’s project. Nevertheless, she wishes to stay anonymous.
This series of pictures encourages us to discover this peculiar life. Harshly natural. The pictures highlight Solange’s testimony about her work, her customers, her family and her children. She agrees that I turn my amateurish photographer’s gaze on this day-to-day existence: on her way back to work, the flat where she lived with her dearest and nearest. Here are some pictures of her own life, the ones she willingly inclines to share with I- and with you, dear witnesses.
*The firstname has been modified.
« Thick as a brick »
« I was a bullied woman. My husband drank like a fish. I began to be a prostitute and I was eager to have a flat in order to have custody of my son. Formerly, I was thick as a brick but now, I’ve learned to say no. I am a bitch yet I am wide-awake. »
« 20 euros for the blowjob »
« I come earlier than the other girls, art 6 o’clock. So, I could have four or six customers before the girls came otherwise the going gets tougher for me to outnumber them. because the girls are more gorgeous and younger. When you ask for 30 euros. They run away. »
« I select my customers »
« I don’t make love to some customers. They look suspicious so I won’t do them. I was even raped by a sexual pervert three years ago in my van. I don’t do drug-addicts either. When they get on my nerves, I start off. »
« Look how beautiful I was »
« We’ve got some customers who are downcast. We can make love to them but they can’t follow suit when we are offering the pornographic review. Look how gorgeous I was when I was young. I loved sex… He jerks off again. ».
« Everything is clean »
« I’ve got a cuvette. I wash my body with some intimate liquid then I wash the soap off with a bottle of water into the cuvette. After that, I throw the whole water under my van and it smells good. Sometimes, it happens that I pee into the bin. I pick up everything and I throw it there into the biggest fucking dustbin. And everything is clean and the customer is satisfied »
« His wife is gorgeous ».
« When I come here, I start off by putting on my make-up, slipping my wig onto my head. One of my customer has got a gorgeous wife. Compared to her, I look like a cleaner and whatnot…. Husbands come and practice fellatio because what they make with us, they don’t make that with their wife. »
« I can stock the fridge »
« I love my job because I realized that without my job, I have nothing. I must pay for the driver, the fuel of the van, of the car and so on. I hope I will earn up to 100-150 euros tomorrow. Thus, I can stock the fridge. If I don’t work a day, I can’t eat. If prostitution comes to an end, we will be very dejected.
« My sister… my son… my daughter… »
« When my sister knew about it, she was depressed for one year. When my son knew about it, he wet his pants for a week. Now, he always stares into space. Sometimes, he feels sad and he gently goes on massaging my feet. My daughter knew about it when she was 18. She was upset. I brought her here, she was afraid of getting on the van. For the time-being, she is slightly disturbed. »
« Back home »
« I began laughing, playing with the kids, I leave everything I’ve done behind. I leave everything in the van. »
« Well-being »
« Well-being? It always for my kids, when the fridge is stocked or when my debts are paid-off »
« A friend »
« I have got a friend with whom I have lunch occasionally, He makes me laugh and I make him laugh. He enjoys dressing up like a woman. From time to time, we go to a lesbian café: there are prostitutes, gays and drags who come and we have small talk. I drink a couple of drinks and it is an opportunity to vent. All that you keep locked inside, you release your pent-up feelings and it makes us laugh. It spurts it out, unexpectedly! »
« They make me sick »
« I don’t believe them when they say to me: « I love you. », They made me sick. I do not love men. It hurts. Shall I still go on prostituting myself? Shall I hope for a better life? »
« Too old »
« I am getting older. I can see now that I am getting older and older. I am too old to go on working. »
« Another two years »
« In the future, as I have got my driving licence, I want to make the most of it. I will be a prostitute another two years and then I will drive trucks. The only thing you can wish for me is to meet a single man who has got the same age as me with whom I will learn how to love little by little. I will find some partner with whom I will chat, because after nobody is inclined to hear you when you are 70_80 years old. You are just a burden. »