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Susan Meiselas spent four summers working on Carnival Strippers (1973–78), photographing the performers at work and in their private lives, along with their boyfriends, managers, and customers. Over these months and years, Meiselas got to know her subjects and included their voices (audio and written) in addition to their images in the original project and its subsequent exhibitions and publications. Ultimately, Meiselas created a work that disturbs the familiar objectification of the female body, especially when on display. In this examination of Carnival Strippers, Solomon-Godeau reflects on if and how a work that foregrounds voyeurism can complicate its mechanisms. Solomon-Godeau notes that the gendered regimes of looking and being looked at are ultimately overdetermined. She explores how a critically aware project like Carnival Strippers might challenge or be eclipsed by preexisting conditions of class and gender, and their predetermined relations of domination and submission.

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