Photographs capture women’s struggles to leave behind sex work

Alexandra Dietz has shot a series of 20 images that will change the way you see prostitution.

Embracing Dignity is an exhibition by American photojournalist Alexandra Dietz that puts a human face to the lives of sex workers trying to leave prostitution with the help of the Embrace Dignity project.

Embrace Dignity is a South African non-profit organisation advocating for legal reform to end prostitution and sex trafficking, and offering services and support to women seeking exit, known as “sisters”.
“This project began when Embrace Dignity asked me to photograph the women in their organisation as they exit prostitution and develop aspirations for their lives moving forward,” says Dietz.
The images, which were shot over several months, are meant to be both a literal depiction of their lives and a visual representation of their internal experience. The photos by Dietz follow these women to their homes and introduce us to their children.
“These images examine the meaning of the label ‘prostitute’ and ultimately discard it, seeing their dignity and humanity as something that cannot be diminished by a label,” says Dietz.
Among others, Dietz has travelled through India, Nepal, Colombia and Papua New Guinea shooting people and trying to understand them in their context. A fine arts graduate from the School of the Art Institute Chicago, this is Dietz’s second solo exhibition.
The exhibition opens at the Bello Studio in Woodstock on Wednesday 10th June 2015.