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April 13, 2014

15 Extraordinary Color Photographs That Document Showgirls at Work and at Rest at New York Nightclubs in 1958

Gordon Parks' pictures of showgirls matter simply because they're beautiful, and because they offer, as LIFE magazine noted, "living, breathing proof of the poet's point that beauty is its own excuse for being."

His photos, in the end, is not that they offer oblique commentary on the drudgery of labor, or that they somehow reveal something about “show people” that we never knew.

Parks’ color pictures are at-once charged with emotion and curiously prosaic. These are, after all, women with a job to do: the fact that they do it in front of avid audiences, while largely undressed, only makes the evident tedium of the work all the more poignant.

(Photos by Gordon Parks—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)


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