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Brooke Taylor, Moonlight Bunny Ranch; Mound House, NV
(2013)
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Brooke Taylor in a Fantasy Room at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch
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14 months ago
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Scattered throughout the state of Nevada, tiny desert towns like Pahrump, Ely and Scotty’s Junction are home to America’s only legal brothels. Legalized prostitution has been and continues to be vitally important to the economic survival of the many counties and towns where they reside. It’s because of this interdependence and tolerance that the Nevada brothels are so deeply rooted in the history and settlement of the American West.

The end result of a five-year project, Nevada Rose rolls back the curtain and gives readers a peek into this legal, albeit secretive, world of fantasy and theater. Rich in color and detail, this insider’s view takes us into a world of brothel life that is rarely discussed and reveals not just the brothel interiors of laundry rooms, lounges, personal bedrooms, but it’s entire cast of characters - the women, the owners, the various workers and even the customers.

There is an uneasy mix of fantasy and reality that exists in the houses. These are real people and real places, yet the exchanges and interactions have the feel of a well-choreographed mini-play. Like actors on art directed sets, the women and men follow the routines of seduction against a backdrop that is meant to evoke a sense of extravagance or of a false familiarity of a “home away from home”.

Having gained unprecedented access, the goal of the work has been to document the industry as honestly and objectively as possible, neither glorifying nor demonizing the sitters, but to explore the humanity behind a stigmatized profession. In the spirit of August Sander and of Bellocq’s images from the Storyville brothels, Nevada Rose is a cultural survey and the first and only book to create a complete photographic document of a slowly fading chapter in American history.
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