Sunday, December 16, 2012


I became acquainted with the work of photographer Flo Fox after watching 'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work'. Joan meets her while delivering a Thanksgiving meal as part of her volunteer work for God's Love, We Deliver. Flo is legally blind and wheelchair bound from symptoms of MS, and started taking photos with an auto-focus camera in the late 70s after failing eyesight made it impossible to continue working as a costume designer.  She has taken, by her estimation, over 100,000 photographs of life in New York since the late 70's. She shows Joan a series of photos she took of the same drugstore for 25 years, documenting the rise in the price of cigarettes. "Check me out," she says, before saying, very slowly and deliberately, "Flo-Fox-Dot-Com."

Her photos are moody, subtle, and always somehow shot through with a pang of raw humor (police blockades creating an accidental Star of David, man in assless leather chaps eating alone at a diner). Also, lots of dick pics, which she's been compiling for her yet-to-be-published tome, 'Dicthology'. She claims every man who has entered her apartment since the mid-70's has posed for the book. 'Atta girl.

In spite of some obsessive internet detective work, I wasn't able to find very many of her photographs online. Her website features a few, but sadly looks like it hasn't been updated since 1999, and hardly does them justice. She has created only one self-published book of her work, 'Asphalt Gardens: 69 Photographs by Flo Fox,' but it is long out-of-print (ps if you can find me one, I'll send you a puppy).

My favorite series is one she self-photographed for Playboy magazine. She was already nearly legally blind when these photos were taken. There's some nudity so I've hidden them after the jump.

Flo Fox is still spry as ever (highly recommend reading this VICE article), and still taking photographs. It's absolutely insane to me that someone who views the world hazily out-of-focus can so precisely and instinctively capture subtle moments through the lens of a camera. This woman's timing is impeccable for street photography. Also, she doesn't use a DSLR that costs $4,000 and weighs as much as a four-year-old. So ostensibly, anyone could take these photos. But of course, they can't.

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