When Martha Rosler made her photographic series of Skid Row in the 1970s, she left out the people and instead added words referring to drunkenness, calling the whole thing "The Bowery in Two Inadequate Descriptive Systems." This was her demonstration of what she called "the indignity of speaking for others," in implicit protest of the sort of sympathetic documentary photography made by early 20th-century snappers like Jacob Riis.
Zoe Strauss would side not with Rosler, but with Riis. She backs up her perspective by showing her images not only in galleries and museums—and currently at Open Satellite in Bellevue—but also in an annual exhibition she organizes under a freeway bridge in the tough neighborhood where she shoots the photographs, not far from the South Philadelphia neighborhood where she grew up and still lives.
Hear her talk about her Philadelphia street practice, about her time harassing the Factoria Mall Santa, about what gets on her last gay nerve, and about her mixed feelings on Diane Arbus in this installment of In/Visible.