OPPOSITES ATTRACT – FLO FOX AND GIGI STOLL, PARATISSIMA 2012
Posted on October 31, 2012 by Isabella Cecconi
Opposites Attract is a story, made of images and friendship. A story that has been linking two people for years. The story of a mentor and a student, the story of curiosity and rules to be changed and twisted, of pulsing and beating lives, of fighters and survivors, of strength and wisdom where nude bodies melt with street photography, where irony meets drama, where Flo Fox meets Gigi Stoll.
“I still get around. I can’t take pictures myself, so I get whoever is with me to take pictures for me. I tell them what to shoot and how, to go higher, move in a little closer. I never go anywhere without my camera and I have to direct friends, attendants or people in the street to take pictures for me. Photography is my existence and covers all aspects of being a single woman/artist in New York City. Carrying my camera every moment of every day I never missed any opportunity to catch that decisive moment.”
Over 80000 photographs from 1972 till present: ironic images, NYC street scenes, Portraits, Phallic, sexual and erotic images, nudes, Halloween parades, Cemetery monuments, Elderly, blind and disabled people, Keith Haring and Basquiat Graffiti. Sassy, smart, edgy, bohemian, irreverent. This is Flo Fox, a real New York fighter. Street photographer since 1972, who has shot over 120,000 images on vary subjects. An advocate for the disabled too. Since the very beginning her photography has tended toward the “ironic side”. Born blind in one eye, (according to her wit, a shortcut for a photographer, considering that 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 at just the time when she had photographed herself nude for PlayboyMagazine. Not long after, Flo Fox discovered that the numbness she felt in one of her hands and legs was caused by Multiple Sclerosis. Nonetheless, she was determined not to let that affect her career as a daring photographer. Not an easy decision given that her preference has always been to be outdoors shooting the people and places in New York City. As her MS progressed, Flo’s muscle tone deteriorated but nothing stopped her from continuing to take her camera everywhere she went. And whenever she couldn’t do it by herself she asked for someone to push the shutter release button. She spent several years chronicling the rot of Times Square and the rise of graffiti, her best work capturing the sly juxtapositions of late-night city life. Flo fox’s photography is the celebration of life, in all its dramatic and ironic sides. Her images are the reflection of her fascination with people and the way they live their lives. By capturing the genuine moment, by being patient, optimistic and never forgetting to smile she has showed all of us that you can see the world rather than just looking at it. Her work was exhibited in NYC at the Nikon house, Ibm gallery, and is in the permanent collection of the Brooklyn museum. Her images have also been published and exhibited internationally, from The Smithsonian to South America, Europe, Japan.
“An old friend gave me a Polaroid camera. I started shooting my model friends and taking portraits during my travels as a model. I went to a Tattoo Convention in Amsterdam to document a family of artists,The Leu Family Iron, and when I returned to NYC, one of the nude images ended up in an Upper East Side gallery. Then, Art Unlimited from Amsterdam approached me to print postcards worldwide. I continued showing in galleries and started selling my nude art to private collectors. What started as snapping Polaroids of friends quickly evolved into a second career shooting portraits for magazines and taking me to the far reaches of the world such as Morocco and Peru to shoot medical missions for children.”
With more than 20 years of healthy approach to photography and experience as professional photographer, Gigi Stoll, has perfected techniques in capturing spontaneous moments, portraits, advertising, fashion, nudes, travels and humanitarian reportage. After a successful career as model, she became being fascinated by photography and began taking pictures, capturing and recording beauty and reality; depicting the world in all its infinite shapes. By leaving a career to pursue another one, she switched from the front to the back of a camera, turning a passion into an inspiring photographical adventure. Photography is to Gigi Stoll a practice, a passion and full time interest. Free to make her own rules and not be bound to convention she depicts the photographical truth that lies underneath a humanitarian reportage or of a naked body, portraying emotional states of her sitters or the beauty of spontaneous shots. Gigi Stoll has a sharp eye and her photographs show a piercing force. Her compositions are neat, her images vivid and delicate at the same time, containing passion, travels, stories. Gigi Stoll images are soft too and her work combines real and ideal. Stunning and evocative, she portraits both male and female subjects combining discipline and intrepidity. In her pictures there’s the ability and passion to catch the extraordinary beauty of a body and the feelings of a humanitarian reportage. Firstly beginning with a Polaroid she later moved to reflex cameras and being accustomed to developing pictures with professional techniques. During these years, Gigi Stoll has gained worldwide recognition, with a sane compulsion to get a better shot, her photography has become her career and the world has become her office.
Opposites Attract – Paratissima 2012
7-11 November 2012