I’m lucky, where I work is round the corner from the Photographers’ Gallery. I often drop by on my lunch break to check out the exhibits and dive into the shop. I’m super busy, and really I should have no time to do this, but I make time, because it’s important to leave the office. You have to top yourself up with unfamiliar things: flick through records and books in a charity shop, go down new streets and see exhibitions. This is the raw stuff and it’s important to find it, because it doesn’t live on itsnicethat (although that site is always a great place to spend time with a cup of tea). Anyway, in the Photographers’ Gallery there’s always a great selection of books on sale in the shop. That’s where I came across America by Zoe Strauss. I was completely floored by her work. Here’s just a small selection.
These images are simple snapshots of mostly the people and the streets of her native Philadelphia, but there’s something about them. These landscapes and the men and women who live there all seemed to have been left behind. There is great wit, confidence and joy in her pictures, and there is sadness too. It’s really honest work and incredibly inspiring. It just made me want to take more pictures. Really, it’s a shame her book’s on sale. But if you’re in London, and you’re quick, there are still copies for less than a tenner. GO!