Flo Fox

website

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Selected Exhibitions:
Solo
2011 Flo Fox Photographs in 3 Groups, gallery 307 (solo)
1998 Icebox Gallery, Minneapolis, MN (solo)
1987 Nikon House, New York, NY (solo)
1987 Weegee the Famous, Paris, France
1974 Photographers Gallery, London, UK (solo)

Group
IBM Gallery (Newseum), New York, NY (group)
International Center of Photography, New York, NY (group)
Meguro Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan (group)

Organizations:
Lighthouse for the Blind
Nikon House
Park West Camera Club
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Press:
http://nymag.com/arts/art/features/67490/
http://streetreverbmagazine.com/2010/10/21/the-amazing-flo-fox/

Walking along 23rd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Manhattan, you might see a slender middle-aged woman in a motorized wheelchair being assisted in pressing her camera’s shutter release button. This would be Flo Fox. Florence Fox was born on September 26, 1945 in Miami, Florida, where her father had a honey factory. He died of a heart attack when she was two, and her mother moved Flo, her two sisters and brother to Woodside, Queens where she and her late husband were originally from. Flo’s mother passed away when she was fourteen and at that time she decided that she would never use the name Florence again – and ran away from home. Later she went to live with an aunt in Levittown, Long Island. When she finished high school – “just by the skin of my teeth,” as she puts it – she moved in with her sister in Queens, where she worked as a paste-up artist for the Yellow Pages. Perhaps this is why her imagery often uses graphic elements. She left the Yellow Pages in 1964, got married and gave birth to her son, Ron During this period Fox worked as a freelance tailor, most notably for Revlon, Inc. She also pursued art in the form of drawing and painting portraits. In 1972 she used her first big paycheck to buy a Minolta SRT 101.

She was born blind in one eye, so, according to her, she was an automatic photographer because she never needed to close an eye to take a picture. She lost the vision in her other eye in 1975 and was declared legally blind just at the time that she photographed herself nude for Playboy and Penthouse. It was at this time that one of Flo’s sisters was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Soon thereafter Flo began experiencing numbness in one of her hands and legs and had herself tested for MS. The results were positive. She has remained determined to not let this news change anything in her career as a fine arts photographer. This has not been easy with her direction in the medium which is predominately street imagery of people and places predominately set in New York City. It has necessitated her getting out of her apartment to capture it, although she also does a lot of nude Polaroid portraits in her Chelsea studio.

When asked how her disabilities have affected her work, Fox said that she started seeing interfering patterns in 1975 and soon thereafter could no longer focus on an image because of dead nerve endings. As her MS progressed, Flo’s muscle tone deteriorated and she went from using a cane to a motorized scooter. In August 1999 a van transporting her made a sharp turn, and Flo fell over in the scooter, subsequently causing her to lose the use of her right hand. She still takes a camera with her wherever she goes but now needs to ask someone to push the shutter release button. Even this has not dimmed Flo’s spirits.”People can be strong no matter what,” she told me,

I try to set an example by taking the negative and making it positive – both in life and in my work.

Among her more many notable accomplishments, she was given the first autofocus camera by Konica to field test for the magazine Camera 35. She was even recognized in Ripley’s Believe It or Not as a blind photographer and originated a course in photography at the Lighthouse for the Blind. Typical of her sense of humor, Flo described this literally as “the blind leading the blind” – positively! She has also presented seminars on her photography at the Nikon House and Park West Camera Club in New York City; at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. As a photographer she has also appeared on the Today show, Tomorrow with Tom Snyder and Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. At one point she hosted her own cable TV show called The Foto Flo Show. Documentaries on her life have also been done for Japanese (1994) and German (1997) television.

Flo had a one-person exhibit (in which she shared a wall with Bill Brandt) at the Photographers Gallery in London, UK in 1974 and another at the Nikon House in New York in 1987. Later that same year she had a two-person show with “Weegee the Famous” in Paris, France. In 1998 she had a one-person exhibition at the Icebox Gallery in Minneapolis, MN. Group shows include the IBM Gallery (now called the Newseum) in New York City, the International Center of Photography in New York City and the Meguro Museum of Art in Tokyo, Japan. Her work has also been published in Black and White New York. Complete volumes of her work include Asphalt Gardens and My True Story. Fox was published in Life Magazine’s September, 1994 issue. Her next scheduled exhibition is at the Times Square Hotel (255 West 43rd Street) where she often exhibits her work.

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