“I smuggled my camera into work and got the courage to ask my first customer if I could take his picture, offering him a free dildo show in exchange. He didn’t seem at all hesitant, and in fact [...] came back the following week, asking if I would take his picture again” writes Cammie Toloui about $5 for 3 Minutes – a series she photographed in the early 90s when working as a stripper at San Francisco’s Lusty Lady Theater to fund her photojournalism studies. The deal went as follows: in exchange for a discounted price, the customers who paid to watch her dancing and performing sex acts on herself consented to have their picture taken. This negotiation resulted in a series of black and white photographs, baroque-like in their dramatic lighting, revealing a broad spectrum of sexuality, fetishes, and often-private aspects of masculinity. Shmorévaz invites this brilliant subversion of the male gaze to be exhibited for the very first time in France.
Cammie Toloui was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a degree in photojournalism from San Francisco State University, where she also taught photography. Her work as a documentary photographer has taken her to Russia, inside ambulances, strip clubs, and other public/private worlds. She was awarded the New York Times Award for Excellence in Photojournalism, The Greg Robinson Memorial Photojournalism Scholarship, and was honored to attend the Eddie Adams Workshop. She continues to document her life and uncover taboos through her photography, her band Yeastie Girlz and her creative activism.
Shmorévaz is an independent art space opened in October 2021 in Paris. Located in a former shoe store, it is activated through exhibitions, performances, readings, listening sessions, and conversations. “Shmo” – as some call it – supports practices that are often transdisciplinary and experimental, with a focus on editorial projects coming from queer and DIY cultures. In parallel with the exhibition programming, the space is also a bookstore specializing in independent publications (zines, artists’ books, magazines, etc.).