City strippers keep their clothes on and reveal all

LAPDANCERS at a city strip club will bare all throughout next month - but not in the way customers might expect.

&#149 Jannica Honey spent months backstage at the Sapphire Rooms, trying to capture the dancers' daily lives.

An exhibition at The Sapphire Rooms will showcase two collections of photographs, laying bare the lives of the strippers behind the lingerie and the make-up.

But while the intimate pictures will expose every detail of their normal working lives, the girls themselves will be keeping their clothes on, while performing pole dances and talking to visitors about the industry

In the first ever Edinburgh Fringe show of its kind, lapdance bosses have invited anyone over 18 to the month-long programme of free events at the Lothian Road club, including the display of frank images depicting life behind the scenes in a strip club, as well as burlesque workshops and the chance to chat one-to-one with the girls who dance into the night.

They will also demonstrate some pole dances - although with their clothes kept on - while art installations including wire models will hang from the club's ceiling.

The exhibition, called Pot of Dreams, is aimed at giving the public a better understanding of the industry.

Ex-dancer and photographer, Holly Davidson, has created several artistic six-foot photographs to capture the curves, flow and movements of the strippers, while Jannica Honey spent two and a half months backstage with the dancers to capture "grittier" and "humanising" images of the girls as they went about their daily routines.

Jannica, who spent the months prior to the lap dancing project taking intimate portraits of her family, said: "I wanted to capture the girls as they really are. I hung out, chatting in their dressing rooms and taking pictures as they moved around me, which makes them a lot more interesting and, in a way, revealing.

"I made an effort not to do so much when they were on the pole, because as soon as they climb on the pole, it becomes their persona. All you see is that pole. I didn't want the photos to be pretty or ugly, just a representation of them as they are."

Club owner Alex Smith, who has run The Sapphire Rooms for more than three years, said he hoped the show would quash unfair judgements about the stripping industry.

He said: "All I ask is that people come to see for themselves what this place is like. There will be lots of strippers here to talk to people about their lives one-to- one.

"The coverage in the media can be so inconsistent, and sometimes misleading.

"It's pretty easy just to go with the stereotypes, but there are so many different girls, from different walks of life, who do this."We have students, lawyers, single mothers with children, people who do it because they want to do it.

"We have lots of people coming here, from local couples to tourists, and it's by no means exclusive. We're inviting everyone to come have a look and decide what they think after that."

Pot of Dreams is on Sunday to Thursday from August 7 to 11, 14 to 18 and 21 to 25, from 2pm to 6pm. Entry is free.