“For me, it was important to show the other side, because prostitution is not just about women naked in dirty rooms – there’s also men naked in those same rooms, but we never show them.” Magnum photographer Cristina de Middel wanted to redress the balance. Her Gentleman’s Club series of images – taken in Brazil in 2015, Cuba in 2018 and Thailand in 2019 – reveals the clients of prostitutes, a subject seldom covered in photojournalism.
“Imagine the written language disappeared, and you have to understand the world just visually – photography has done a terrible job of explaining the business,” says De Middel in this video. She placed ads in newspapers asking for clients of prostitutes to pose for her in exchange for money, offering more if they were willing to show their faces.
“It’s a bigger picture – a wider angle – of what makes prostitution a successful business,” says De Middel. “I think it’s time for every artist… to see what you can do in your discipline, to bring something to the debate, and to question the traditional way that women are depicted.”
Click on the play button above to watch the video.
If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.
And if you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called “If You Only Read 6 Things This Week”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, WorkLife and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday.