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      The Gifts Anonymous Men Send to a Popular Camgirl

      January 17, 2016

      Among the growing mound of half-unpacked stuff in Lindsay Dye's new Bed Stuy apartment is a 27" 5K Retina Display Mac monitor and track pad. I asked if it was a gift from a client. A big grin appeared across her face as she informed me that her dad bought it for her prior to realizing she'd updated her job title on LinkedIn as "camgirl."

      Over the past two years, Dye's worked as both a camgirl and artist, often fusing the two practices into one. As a camgirl, she dances, chats, or sits on cake for clients she meets online. As an artist, Dye takes screenshots of other camgirls to create clothing and prints about copyright infringement, identity, and cybersex. Often times, she'll sell prints of stolen screengrabs from clients who've tried to blackmail her. As she told Motherboard in a recent profile, "I'm past being frustrated with being naked on the internet. Instead, I want the circularity of my projects to work in my favor, by taking back what is mine and selling what [people who record my cam videos] can't: my physical artwork."

      In exchange for pleasing viewers on MyFreeCams.com, Dye has amassed hundreds of anonymous gifts from her Amazon wish list—so many items that it's hard to tell what's a gift and what isn't in her apartment. Of course she receives money from her clients, too, but her presents are as idiosyncratic as her libidinous relationships with online strangers, ranging from sex toys and jewelry, to domestic kitsch and books on black identity. These objects double as art supplies for Dye, suggesting that her cam work and art career overlap in a way that's indistinguishable—they're all part of Dye's singular identity.

      Dye said the majority of gifters are "people who don't exist in your physical space, but want to. So they buy you something that you will touch, wear, or feature on your [camgirl] set. The presents suggest how far people are willing to go (or invest) in a relationship with someone that they don't know."

      "Honestly, one of the best gifts I've received was a set of hotel towels, but not a set of four; they sent me 16," Dye added. "I don't know if this was a joke or a mistake, but I have a lot of company, and these towels have been very useful."

      For more on Elizabeth's photo work, visit her website here.

      Topics: camgirls, camgirl, lindsay dye, elizabeth herring, elizabeth claire herring, amazon wish list, gifting, sex work, sex worker, sex worker photo essay, camgirl photo essay, sex, money, internet, kitsch, gifts, presents

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