The Domestic Burlesque
Published by Elsa Quarsell
274 pages, Softcover
8" x 10" (205 x 255 mm)
125 color illustrations, English
The Domestic Burlesque is a beautifully produced book of photographs by Swedish photographer Elsa Quarsell, portraying burlesque performers in the full glory of their costumes and, uniquely, posed at home. Quarsell spent over two years traveling to each performer’s home (from Germany, the UK, Sweden, France, and Holland to Tokyo and the US) to take revealing and outrageous staged portraits of them within their own personality-filled spaces. The retro figurines, kitsch decor, vintage pin-up posters, vinyl records, and b-movie trinkets surrounding them only add to the entire cultivated persona. Many of these dancers are professionals by day, but at night these women and men become characters of their own invention — directors, actors, comedians, make-up artists, and costume designers in one. The costumes are often painstakingly handmade; one artist sewed 5000 sequins onto a bikini. Mermaids, Bond girls, elephant women, Marie Antoinettes, goddesses, Margaret Thatcher and royal family characters, hit men, sailors, Balinese dancers, elks, harlequin mimes, superheroes, Carmen Mirandas, and classic movie stars are all captured here. In offering a unique glimpse into these beauties’ most intimate environments, Quarsell brings fantasy and seduction into the domestic sphere; ironing will never look quite the same. The book contains over 100 portraits, each accompanied by an interview with the performer.