I was delighted to come away from the 2009 Zoe Strauss I-95 show with this image...

The Little Room. Zoe Strauss

It is not one of her iconic images, and I didn't have to stake out the pillar it was mounted to, or fend off any other collectors from getting it the way many of the more coveted images are sought at the annual public event. (I actually did witness a few arguments over who was going to get certain images when the clock struck 4PM... the time when photos can be removed from the concrete pillars)

I love this image for it's minimalism and simplicity, but also because it is an early and very personal image full of self reflection and sentimentality. It is the bedroom in her grandparent's house in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia where she lived for several years as a child. It also, to me, represents one of the clearest and most elemental examples of the influences of Walker Evans on Zoe's work. A study of that influence in numerous Zoe Strauss images are in a recent post on this blog, and a link to that is at the end of this post.

Iron Bed.Walker Evans

The image below is now at the top of my must have list and I'll be camped out next to it at the end of next year's (and final) I-95 show. It is also from the same house in Mayfair and is a collection of family photos, including Zoe and her siblings. The pastel painting on the right is Zoe's mother, Ilene Baker, who I am told did some serious enforcing of the "no photos removed until 4PM" rule at this year's show!

Family Photos. Zoe Strauss

Zoe's own words about the Mayfair house photographs

A Study in Influences: Zoe Strauss and Walker Evans

Zoe Strauss: Friends & Family I-95 2009
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