Though photographer Tom Sanders has worked on serious projects—including series about World War II veterans, Native Americans, and more,—he found some unlikely inspiration: home stripper poles. While living in Los Angeles, Sanders connected with a model who had a stripper pole in her kitchen. This began what would become the series “Pole Dancing at Home.” Although Sanders began working on the project in 2010, he said he focused heavily on it in 2013 and has already shown images from the series at the De Young Museum in San Francisco.
When he first started working on the project, Sanders went after a more obvious, sexier style of shooting. He quickly got away from it once he learned more about what the pole meant to the women, who often had them in their offices as well as around their homes. “I realized it was more about strength,” Sanders said. “The pole is sacred to them.”