The Naked Soul
Walking into Jane Hilton's North London home, you could almost think you're somewhere in the Wild West, on a beautiful ranch, filled with keepsakes from previous generations of cowboys and farmers. This carefully collected interior is the result of years and years of road trips, projects, dear friends's presents and a raw fascination with American culture.
Dead Eagle Trail was one of the first projects documenting her love for kitsch culture and cowboys. Rather than photographing the cowboys on horseback at work, Jane decided to photograph them in their living rooms and kitchens, choosing an intimate and personal setting.
The idea for her second American culture project, the one that is perhaps closest to her heart, was born during a road trip through Nevada. The Southwestern state is famous for its history of brothels, the first having opened at the beginning of the 19th century. Several laws were passed over the years, ultimately leading to Nevada being the only state in the country to legalise brothels. Today there are 19 legal brothels open for business.
Ever the documentary photographer, she made the decision to visit a brothel called Madam Kitty's Cathouse after passing countless signs on the side of the road advertising for 'Shady Ladies'. Now, over a decade later, she endearingly thinks of the working girls as courtesans and compares brothels to a "boarding school, with a twist".
She has since produced a 10-part documentary series for the BBC called Love for Sale, challenging the prejudices associated with prostitution. Her recently published book Precious is the continuation of that project, and has fortified her stance as a strong advocate for legalised prostitution, having met some amazing women, taken the time to listen to their stories, understand their reasons and "see their souls".