In ONYX, photographer Adrienne Raquel explores the intensity and escapism of the strip club experience, documenting performers at Houston’s famed Club Onyx. Raquel’s photography is usually editorial, with high-powered celebrities such as Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Nas X and Travis Scott as subjects. Now, for this project commissioned by Fotografiska New York, she turns her lens toward a community of underrepresented artists in her hometown. At Club Onyx, strippers display their bodies and seductiveness, but there’s a virtue to this particular space: “they don’t get naked” is a common description of the club’s ambiance. Performers there negotiate what “stripper” means to them on their own terms.
Raquel captures these performers with her signature glossy style. From powerful images of the dancers mid-movement to detailed shots and intimate portraits, Raquel’s photographs place their beauty and energy on full display. She also takes viewers behind the scenes, giving us a window into the community the dancers have built in the privacy of the locker room. ONYX displays the empowerment and inclusivity in strip clubs that society has tended to ignore.
Adrienne Raquel (born 1990) is a Texas-raised photographer and art director working between Houston, New York and Los Angeles. Featured in Aperture's New Black Vanguard, she received her first solo exhibition at Fotografiska New York in 2021. Clients include Apple, Savage x Fenty, Pat McGrath Labs, Dior, Bacardi, Rare Beauty, Bacardi, Nike and Beats By Dre, as well as covers for Vanity Fair, V Magazine, GQ and Interview.