By Leonel Peon | IRA Intern
[ Our new intern, Leo, has recently taken an interest in photography. On Monday, he attended the Zoe Strauss lecture for the Kennedy seminar class for the College of Art and Art History and he wrote a bit about the experience. Check it out below! ]
Exploring the Philadelphian identity through street photography, Zoe Strauss’ photos not only capture the diversity and different personalities of Philadelphia, but also provokes inspiration and deep thought through overlooked details of everyday life. Monday night, I got to experience this for myself where Zoe gave to both an audience of fans and students an inside look at her mind-boggling motives and influence for all her previous and ongoing projects.
Given a camera for her 30th birthday, Zoe Strauss made South Philly the main setting for her work. Zoe’s photographs instill a sense of real life, capturing people and objects as they are skipping the whole preparation process of a photograph. As she said in her lecture, “Every moment is a moment worth photographing.” This quote reflects her works as she is able to grasp simple portraits of average Philadelphian bystanders conveying the message of gender, race, ethnicity, and the perpetual troubles of American society into one photo.
Zoe Strauss is a self-taught photographer. Annually, in a time span of ten years, she showcased her photographs under the I-95 highway in South Philly. Zoe’s unconventional presentation of street art through the integration of public space was a refreshing idea and a reminder to the world that art is all around us and can be as simple as the portrait of your very own neighbor. Zoe has reinvigorated the representation of street art and the conceptual and visionary aspect of street photography.
On her current project, Zoe Strauss tackles the political problems of America by taking photos of disenfranchised voters in Florida. With only about a week here in Florida, she is only beginning to advance through this massive project as she plans to do most of her photography in Sarasota. A quirky and funny, yet absolutely insane Zoe Strauss, has convinced not only myself, but the entire art world that photography can bring the most mundane artifacts of life into the forefront and introduce a fresh approach in doing so. I know I can’t wait to see what this intrepid photographer does next.