Zoe Strauss is a legend of modern photographers. She is the people’s photographer who works to encourage her fierce, but socially alienated subjects. She holds a mirror to American society and asks how the reflection sits with us. She aims to make photography something less sterile and exclusive.
Strauss strives to capture her subjects with empathy all the while avoiding patronizing narratives. She focuses on “the strength in how we figure out our lives, and the truth of how sometimes we can’t work it out.”
In her commitment to making photography accessible to all, she started her career by hanging ink-jet prints under Interstate-95 in Philadelphia. At the end of the three hour, open-air exhibition, the prints were handed out as gifts for the attendees. This approach to exhibiting her work opened channels for the community to gather and discuss their city and the life situation of Strauss’ subjects. Even after Strauss became a well-known photographer, she carried this tradition of displaying her work. Why shouldn’t the underpass of an interstate be an open-air gallery?
Photo by: Chris Pacquette
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