In the early 1900s, E.J.
Bellocq photographed prostitutes in the red-light district of New
Orleans. His remarkable, candid photos inspired Natasha Trethewey to
imagine the life of Ophelia, the subject of Bellocq's Ophelia,
her stunning second collection of poems. With elegant precision, Ophelia
tells of her life on display: her white father whose approval she earns
by standing very still; the brothel Madame who tells her to act like a
statue while the gentlemen callers choose; and finally the camera, which
not only captures her body, but also offers a glimpse into her soul.