"Visitors to the Clermont Lounge - the Atlanta strip club famous for featuring performers of all shapes, sizes and ages - are greeted by a sign that proclaims : "No cameras! No exceptions! No crybabies!" But one photographer was given special permission, Cyril Bailleul, a Paris-based artist who captured images of the women using only the dimly lit club's ambient light. "Above Where the Women Dance" will be exhibited in the lobby of the newly renovated Hotel Clermont." AJC - Atlanta journal Constitution
The gallery at Hotel Clermont
"Above where the Ladies Dance"
October 1 - November 30, 2018
Atlanta Celebrates Photography festival.
Girls Girls Girls takes us for a sneak peek inside Atlanta’s legendary strip club, the Clermont Lounge, where there is a strict no cameras policy.
Blondie, Cassie, Chandra, Barbie…these women are the true stars of the club and they have allowed the camera to capture them in their essence. Although the upstairs is soon to reopen as a boutique hotel, the Clermont Lounge has remained unchanged for fifty years. The lounge has a distinct David Lynch ambiance and has seen many big names in entertainment pass through its doors including current celebrities Jennifer Lawrence, Bill Murray, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Lady Gaga.
And now it’s your turn….do you dare to enter?
GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS
November 3 – December 31, 2017
Jacques Devos Gallery - Paris
GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS
We could have paid homage to the Lounge’s past by naming this exhibition “Gorgeous”, “Beautiful”, or “Exciting”.... These are the names of the shows that the club ran in the 1960’s when it was still called the Anchorage. We decided, however, that it should be called “GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS” because this exhibition is all about the girls who make the club possible.
These women, who range in age from 25 to 70, are the heart and soul of the club. They were photographed using only the light emanating inside the club (jukebox, lighted beer signs, neon lights…). The women were able to establish a trusting relationship and friendship with the photographer, letting their beauty and personality be captured without any false modesty.
These unretouched photographs reveal extremely sexy bodies…far different from the stereotypical beauty of magazine models. Girls Girls Girls celebrates these women’s bodies while paying them the due respect that they deserve.
WELCOME TO THE CLERMONT LOUNGE!
The Clermont is a large brick building that was constructed in 1924. At that time it was known as the Clermont Motor Hotel, and according to legend, Al Capone rented out the entire top floor while staying in Atlanta. The basement houses the city’s oldest strip club, the Clermont Lounge, and it has been in business ever since it opened its doors in 1965. I had a chance to visit this mythical place and meet its two owners, Kathi and Tracey.
Above all, Girls Girls Girls was born out of a relationship built on trust and friendship; two necessary components for creating a project together. I used every inch of the space in the club and hotel as I tried to capture the energy and beauty of these women and the atmosphere of this space which is so characteristic of the American South, all while recording it onto film. The moist and humid heat, the perspiration on the women’s skin as they are cooled off by large fans, the lunacy of this place and of the people who inhabit it, this joy for life and celebration…this is what makes the Clermont Lounge the special place that it is.
"How did the shooting go?I came back about fifteen times over two or three years. Nothing was planned in advance, I went there, I saw who was there, who agreed, it could be in the afternoon or in the evening when the evening had already begun. What I liked was the artificial light of the place, almost non-existent, the simple neon lights, a jukebox, a laptop screen. I really wanted them to appear as they are, with their shapes, their wrinkles, which for some might appear as defects. I also wanted them to like themselves in the pictures. There is anyway a real situation of seduction with the public, whatever their physique or their age. They manage to appear seductive and never creepy when it could very quickly turn into something sordid, and I wanted to approach this mystery. I have a real curiosity for these women, and this photographic work that we did together allowed me to approach them.When I entered the Clermont, I had the impression of being really in touch with everything that American cinema can convey about the history of this country, from the conquest of the West with the mobile cabarets, to the pin-up girls of the 50s. And then with this so particular light in the basement of the Clermont I had the impression to be in a film of David Lynch, completely in another world."
Extract interview by Martine Abat, journalist at Radio France(English translation of the original French text)
"Bravo for this capture, at the same time distant and vibrant, displaying and human, of the ambiguous joys and ambivalent solidarities of a capitalism where money plays with images and bodies - but where people constantly reinvent uncapturables creativities, delicately captured here by the grace of photography"
Yves Citton - Philosopher (English translation of the original French text)
Photo gallery slide right............