Philip Fagan spent eleven years on Manhattan’s East side in “the business of pleasure.” Extraordinarily rare access enabled him to befriend and photograph many of the women who earned their living in the sex trade. “I did not photograph the girls as an essay, or as an exploitive study of girls in a lowly profession,” Fagan explains. “I photographed the girls because I spent all my time, almost 24-7, with them.” Reviewing the images after these many years, Fagan says, “I hope with all my heart that the women survived and have found something fulfilling so they never think about going back.”
This unique exhibition of stark, gritty and suprisingly touching black and white images reveals the everyday world of working girls. Rarely does Fagan's camera intrude; it is merely a voyeur or even a welcome partner. These candid and straight forward portraits are reminescent of Diane Arbus’ pictures of people on the fringes of society combined with Ernest J. Bellocq’s Storyville Photographs taken in the Red Light District of New Orleans in the 1900’s.