Jonnie Andersen
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Jonnie Andersen

Jonnie Andersen takes a look at one of the images she took during a photo shoot in December at the Travelers Motel in Las Vegas. Andersen, 32, spent two years photographing the city’s prostitutes for a hardcover book, “The Little Chapel of Esoteric Cosmetology. (Sarah Tramiel / For The Times)
Robin Barry, 50, has her makeup applied by Andersen’s assistant and roommate, Marissa DiNicola, before a photo shoot. After the shoot, she asked to see the photos. “It doesn’t even look like me,” she said admiringly. (Sarah Tramiel / For The Times)
Andersen, right, jokes around with one of her subjects during a photo shoot in December. In taking the photos of Las Vegas prostitutes for two years, she found a sense of purpose in a city steeped in vice. (Sarah Tramiel / For The Times)
Jonnie Andersen, who recently moved from Las Vegas to Austin, Texas, videotapes her friends while waiting for a photo shoot. The Yale-educated photographer was once fired for taking photos of her co-workers at a casino. She later began bartending at a downtown Las Vegas saloon. After she got to know the local prostitutes, she felt a need to photograph them. (Sarah Tramiel / For The Times)
Andersen, left, and DiNicola wait for subjects at their makeshift studio at the Travelers Motel. Andersen’s friends and family thought that photographing prostitutes seemed risky, even bizarre. But she came to believe that it gave the women a welcome, if brief, escape. (Sarah Tramiel / For The Times)
Ruby Snow poses for Andersen in a kitschy holiday scene pieced together by the photographer and her assistant. They wrapped boxes in red glitter paper, hung bubble lights and candy canes on a gold-tinsel tree and taped stockings to the window. (Jonnie Andersen)
One of the first women to agree to be photographed by Andersen was Miesha. Andersen was so nervous that she decided to pretend to be Dolly Parton. “I thought: Everyone likes Dolly Parton,” she said. (Jonnie Andersen)
Andersen put some of her images in a self-published book, and dedicated it to this woman, Diana. (Jonnie Andersen)
Andersen took this photo of Gloria at the Travelers Motel. “I kept thinking there was a project I had to finish here,” Andersen says of her photography, “but I didn’t know what it was.” (Jonnie Andersen)
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