Sebrina Fassbender

(American, b. 1977; resides in Chicago, IL)

Sebrina Fassbender’s photographs of call girls living and working on the Lower East Side of Manhattan fall between the genres of documentary, portrait, and staged photography. She spent five years (2004-2009) meeting these women, and she photographed them only after establishing friendships and a level of intimacy and trust. Though many of the photographs are candid, Fassbender also frequently staged the scenarios, providing clothing or props representative of some aspect of her subject’s personality while preserving the spontaneous appearance of the images. She considers the images to be both portraiture and self-portraiture, as she believes it is important that her subjects feel equally in control as the photographer during the shoot. Fassbender’s emotionally raw aesthetic is traceable to her influences, including Nan Goldin, Larry Clark, and Diane Arbus.

Sebrina Fassbender was born in Harvard, IL, and grew up in Madison, WI. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for painting (1995-1999), but she began photographing after seeing the work of Diane Arbus in an art history class. In 2000 Fassbender moved to Minneapolis, MN, and completed an associate degree in photography at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (2002). She moved to New York City in 2004 and currently resides in Chicago. Exhibitions include a two-person show with LaToya Ruby Frazier at Higher Pictures, New York City (2009); a slide show of her work at Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, SUNY College at Old Westbury, NY (2009); a group show at the Viewfinder Photography Gallery, London, UK (2011); and a group show at Alibi Fine Art, Chicago (2011).