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Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly said McAndrews had never visited a strip club before beginning the Nevada Rose project. While he had been to some, he disliked them because of "the aggressiveness of the clientele," he said. Search icon A magnifying glass. It indicates, "Click to perform a search". Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification. Harrison Jacobs.
When McAndrews began shooting the brothels, he expected them to be seedy and filled with drugs, he told Business Insider. What he found was something completely different. When he asked about taking photos, the women thought he was just a nervous customer. He was turned down. After being turned down by brothels near Carson City, one of the sex workers recommended he try a small town like Elko or Ely, where proprietors might be friendlier. In Elko, he had his first luck at a "parlor brothel," which, like this one, looks more like a bar.
Other brothels are called "lineup brothels," where workers line up when customers enter, McAndrews said. There are also "city houses," which cater to those wanting a slicker, partygoing atmosphere, and "country houses," which are quieter and friendlier, McAndrews said. Once inside, customers go to the pay room to withdraw cash for the night. Carli at Mona's Ranch in Elko was one of the first women he photographed. He stayed at Mona's for five nights and shared a bathroom with the workers.
McAndrews was given free rein to photograph, as long as he had a worker's permission. Of why he stayed at the brothels, he said: "It's a different experience when you wake up in the morning and have to pass the cereal and the milk to your subject. McAndrews mostly photographed in mornings and afternoons when the brothels were quiet. Because he was shooting with a large-format camera, he would have to pack up when guests arrived, so as not to spook them.
Most of Nevada's brothels are in places far outside of the cities and zoned into specific areas. Often, many occupy the same parking lot. McAndrews says many of the women have kids and partners. One woman who McAndrews met was a math teacher in Minnesota during the school year.