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Student unveils three-year burlesque photography project

A photography student has completed ‘Showgirls’, a three year project inspired by London’s theatres and burlesque venues.

A photography student has completed ‘Showgirls’, a three year project inspired by London’s theatres and burlesque venues.

Lithuanian Middlesex University student Justina Česnauskytė documented performers throughout the duration of her degree course, creating an impressive collection and book for her final year project.

The 21 year old, who has just graduated, created the captivating collection at central London venues including Proud Cabaret, Volupté and Madame Jojos.  

Her project captures the performers on stage and getting ready or relaxing back stage.  Some of the collection, which are reminiscent of old Hollywood images, include close-ups of the glamorous performers, as well as photos of them dancing and singing mid-performance. 

The talented student used smoke, lighting and movement to create dramatic effects and the black and white and colour photographs include props such as feathers, decorative jewellery and fans.   

Justina was inspired to create the collection at the age of 19 when she was backstage at a theatre in Leicester Square, London.  She then visited high profile burlesque clubs to take her photos, where she was fascinated by the costumes, the performances and how hard the women worked. Justina Česnauskytė 2

Middlesex University student Justina Česnauskytė said: “During the project 'Showgirls' which drew me in back in 2010, I got to know the world of burlesque; its glamorous performances, performers and of course behind the scenes. Backstage was the most intriguing for me, there was no acting or posing and I was able to capture real emotions and show what was hidden behind the red curtains, which most people don’t get to see.”

“I learnt how different each burlesque performer was, with their own style and performance, which required a lot of hours of hard work and preparation.  It was a priceless experience for me to meet and photograph women who are so strong, feminine, glamorous and dedicated to this magnificent art of tease,” added Justina.

Justina hopes to now start her career as a travel or documentary photographer.


Top: Justina in front of some of her photographs

Bottom: A photo from Justina’s Showgirls collection

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