BETEL NUT BEAUTIES
Betel Nut Beauties
Betel Nut Beauties is a photo series documenting the compelling phenomenon of roadside betel nut stands across Taiwan. A fixture on the streets of urban and sub-urban Taiwan, these brightly lit, often ramshackle huts sell a mild stimulant made from the nut of the areca palm and wrapped in betel leaves. Known across South Asia as paan, it is generally translated to ‘betel nut’ in English. Staffed almost exclusively by young women, the stands cater to
long-haul truck drivers and, like taxi dancers or cigarette girls in casinos, the betel nut girls are encouraged to dress in skimpy clothes to lure in male customers. Snapped while waiting for their next sale, Biernat’s compassionate photographs capture the isolation and tedium of these sell-ers who themselves are on display, a daily existence bounded by walls of glass.
The world's cultures may be very different, but when seen through a consistent lens in terms of simple geometry, the complexities of cultural variation fall away. Here I turn my camera onto the ordinary details of everyday life.
A series of images depicting guards and guardhouses quietly standing in a state of unobserved decay. The two share a common sense of isolation, one haunting the other.