Tag Archives: Burlesque Dancers

Datura Bordeaux: The Cigarette Girls

Datura Bordeaux of The Cigarette Girls

I am back to work on The Cigarette Girls Series that I began working on a year ago.  Madeline stopped by today to finally look through her images and we did a quick work through and I was able to put them on a disc before she left.  Her burlesque name is Datura Bordeaux, the tag line on her facebook page suggests “Lost through the veil of time, Mademoiselle Datura Bordeaux brings her post colonial exoticism to the stage, dancing with sword and veil, she brings you “danse du ventre!””   I think the images capture the essence of her style and personality.  They were a blast to work on and with minor tweaking were ready for publication.

The Cigarette Girls is Missoula’s premiere Burlesque Troupe.   I begun bringing the girls into my studio and photographing them one by one at the beginning of last year.   I somehow got very busy the later part of the summer and fall and never got back to finish them.  I will begin working my way back through these images and put the series of my site in the next couple of days.  Datura is the first.   I love these girls!!

Artist Statement

Ruby Bordeaux of Missoula's Cigarette Girls Burlesque Troupe with large pink fan.

I am a photographic artist obsessed with light and the ways in which it illuminates the human condition.  Light is at the core of how we perceive our world and view our existence. It is continuously changing and evolving and helps me recognize the immediacy of how rich my life has become. I focus on light when I am working outdoors and in the highly controlled confines of my studio.  Light is sculptural in every way and defines the social and psychological world I live in and I use photography to follow the movement of that journey. By definition, photo-graphy means to create a graphic element of or with light; I approach it as a process of using light as a medium for painting an image of my life.

Growing up a fourth generation cattle rancher in Western Montana, I was always denied a means of creative expression.  Art wasn’t a topic of conversation and creative endeavors were often shunned or dismissed as trivial and meaningless.  I am gay and throughout my childhood on the ranch I felt constantly out of sync, like I needed to keep the greater part of myself hidden. In college I was able to let that go and began working in the theater as a lighting designer.  The theater segued into photography, which for me has become the ultimate expression of light. I am mesmerized by the concept of Chiaroscuro Lighting and tend to explore themes of light emerging from darkness in most of my work.  I love strong, deep, rich shadows and am fascinated by what is hidden there and the beauty of its exposure

Many of my images are about romantic ideals that I feel are beginning to fade from a culture that has become desensitized by modern media.  I am inspired by the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe and his ability to take us inside his inner world and reveal his emotions, desires, and fears within the context of a single image.  My work is about getting to the core of who I am within our culture.  To reveal my own humanity, where I have been, what I have done, and how I relate to the environment that surrounds me.  I enjoy identifying and capturing the essence of pivotal moments in time and using that to explore and show the world my unique perspective.  A large part of my personal growth over the past couple years has involved going back and examining my own heritage. Photographing rodeos and the great things about Montana that once captivated me, but I then suppressed.  There is now a fondness in my heart to embrace my past and reclaim the darker side of myself I rejected for so long.  Photography allows me to seize the remarkable beauty that still lingers there.

I take a completely non-traditional approach to how I create images.  The camera is used as an extension of myself and I do not center on brand or model as long as it can be used to express a connection with my subjects.  I tend to break the rules I was taught about lighting and never work within prescribed formulas or ratios. I am technical when setting up an image and then rely on instincts and impulse when actually shooting so I can respond to what is happening within the context of the moment. It becomes more about mood, feeling, and what I see. The taking of the picture does not become a function of my expression.  It is my expression.