Powerful Pictures That Capture The Daily Life Of China's Bar Girls

This is the city's dark underbelly.    

Powerful Pictures That Capture The Daily Life Of China's Bar Girls
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"The concentration of sexual fluids is more intense than oxygen," this is how Sergey Melnitchenko, a photographer and a dancer, has described the life of performers at a night club in China. He captured what he saw at the backstage, a sordid life these performers led. 

A native of Ukraine, Sergey first arrived in Chengdu, China, in 2015. It was then he got a job as a performer in one of the city's nightclubs. He worked for about four months in this unnamed club and decided to capture the secrets that this place held for years.   

Moved by what he saw, Sergey decided to take the photos of performers - a process that introduced him to the real lives of people who were singers, dancers, clowns and transvestites and guess what!   

As I see it, this is an attempt by this artist to capture the side, which is way more burlesque than the one on stage.      

Have a look at some of his pictures, which reveal the dark underbelly of Chengdu.  

Nothing more nor less than a mask.

Performers at China's night club

Due to China's ban on strip clubs and sex work, employees were confined to dancing, drinking and playing games with customers – though that didn't stop things from getting squalid. Like icebergs, people here generally exposed a small a part of their soul on the stage. The actual soul is revealed on backstage - the agony, the misfortune, the troubles.     

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Can you see what I see?

Performers at China's night club

The life backstage. High on drugs, sex and unwanted activities are what performers undergo here.  

People gain pleasure in dressing like...

Performers at China's night club

These are transvestites who are helpless with the money and so they have to deal with it in this way. But some opt it by choice.     

There exist the two faces of everyone.

Performers at China's night club

Mirror promises you to show who you truly are and it does. In this night club, people have double faces. One that is shown on the stage and the other captured on the camera that is on the backstage.   

Sexual fluids flow backstage.

Performers at China's night club

There's no restriction on forceful sex. The uncontrollable booze flows in full. Drugs are also a part of their life.   

Uglier than you may think.

Performers at China's night club

"The only thing that I didn't like was a show where a Chinese girl started to put a beer on herself, and then visitors could come and pour beer on her, every visitor tried to do something more disgusting than the other. They poured beer on her tits, tried to pour it in her ass or on her vagina - so it was really ugly." photographer Sergey remarked.   

The injuries that are physical and emotional.  

Performers at China's night club

That's just one. You never know how many have suffered till now.   

Middle finger to the outside world.

Performers at China's night club

They have their own secret world to live in. It seems they are too busy being stuck in the dirt.  

No one actually dances here, they are more interested in something else.

Performers at China's night club

This photograph depicts how unusual things are at the backstage. The performer is getting ready for the show.    

The addiction of drugs and forceful intimacy.

Performers at China's night club

Many visitors enter the club after consuming drugs. Some performers also remain high on drugs as the show begins. The facial expression of this performer says it all.  

Even if I don't want to, I have to...

Performers at China's night club

The pain lies backstage while something else goes on during the onstage performances.  

Therapy they go through...

Performers at China's night club

The exotic dance performances these girls give every night get them tired. To cope up with the pain, special treatment (thermal therapy) is provided to them that leaves marks as shown in the above picture.

That look on her face.

Performers at China's night club

Isn't that look vicious enough to scare the shit outta anyone? But that is a ground reality in this nightclub.    

The show goes on...

Performers at China's night club

Sex is for sale in these streets. People do anything for sex. Let the underpants go off but the show must not stop.   

The Irony

Performers at China's night club

A thin line exists between the high profile society and the dirty street looks. The difference vanishes when all come at the same place to quench their thirst.    

The knee bruise.

Performers at China's night club

People here are high on smoke, weeds and other elements to the extent that they have no idea how they harm their body.     

How about your identity?

Performers at China's night club

Well, doesn't want to show it on the camera.  

People are more into getting under those.

Performers at China's night club

That's a reality. No one comes to this club just to watch the dance. They are here for just one thing, to get into the girls' underpants.   

Act of seducing.

Performers at China's night club

Ofcourse, the street is the common melting point of desires and lust.    

Embracing or fighting?

Performers at China's night club

While the show goes on the stage, the performers are busy with their own act behind the curtains. Be it fighting, taking dressing or seduction tips.   

Male hands on a newbie.

Performers at China's night club

It seems this is how a girl, who has just joined the club as a performer, is abused and humiliated by a visitor.   

How does she feel in the end?

Performers at China's night club

I guess something we all can tell from her face as she tries to find her identity in the mirror. She doesn't seem much happier with her work. But that's what she gotta do there.

We are comfortable living in a world full of good things and bad things. But we have no idea how people go through extreme filth in certain parts of the world.  

That's all folks!

Images' source photographyofchina.com

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You may also reach out to me at richac@wittyfeed.com.   

Isn't it a horrible life?