Hoot! The Review That Inspires (As Well as Answers Questions).

I read about the “Zoe Strauss: Ten Years” photo exhibit and I want to see it in person.

However, I want to get a better idea about the photographer and the exhibit beforehand so I read a Philly Weekly article posted on Jan.18: “’Zoe Strauss: Ten Years’ Is a Poignant and Sometimes Chilling Look at Our City.”

What makes this article great is that it approaches the subject in a non-cliché way. It is not a typical neutral critique with narrative facts and art-promoting tone. The beginning of the piece makes good use of Strauss’s close relationship to her South Philly roots to relate to her photo exhibit. Given a few examples of Strauss’ work, readers get a better understanding of what this exhibit is all about – the humanity of the daily life in the city of Philadelphia.

The writer carefully reveals the experience of Strauss as a photographer through a few outstanding photos. After the knowledge of Strauss’ past and her experience as a photographer, readers might ask, “So, what makes her stand out and why would we want to see the exhibit in person?”

This is when the writer really gets down to grab readers’ attention by pointing out the uniqueness of this exhibit.

“This firm separation between mute people and vociferous language in Strauss’ photography can grate against assertions that she gives a voice to both the joy and desperation of America’s hardest-hit citizens,” the writer delivers. “When faced with Strauss’ portraits of people, you might ask, ‘What would they say?’”

The brilliance of this piece is that it makes you want to go and see the exhibit and find out what you are curious about.

– Text by Ning Shao. Image by Zoe Strauss, via Philly Weekly.

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