Flo Fox

Interviewed By Alex Kelly and Chancey Fleet

Flo Fox is a well-known photographer who began her career as a designer and tailor. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1975 when she returned to her first love -- photography. Over the years, her work has been published in numerous periodicals, shared on televesion, and added to the collections of several museums. Flo's early life was difficult. Flo's father died when she was only two and her mother died when she was 14. Flo then went to live with an aunt. Flo purchased her first camera when she was 26 and soon after had discovered she could make a statement by shooting ordinary street scenes. According to Flo, the only holiday she celebrates is the annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, where so many people use the events of the year as inspiration for their costumes. Flo has one son, who, because he is also in the field of photography, is able to help her in many ways. (Summary written by: Nancy Broderick)

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born miami beach fla (00:59)
father started honey factory (01:14)
fater died at 2 (01:29)
mother got cancer (01:46)
1st camera at age 26 (03:50)
take 2 cameras everywhere (04:08)
taken 120,000 photos (04:23)
develops in darkroom - gelatin and silver prints (04:35)
nikon - too precise (05:03)
1st camera a minolta (05:38)
1975 notices something wrong with eyes (05:40)
1 yr later sister diagnosed with ms (05:50)
then started dragging legs and realized it sounded like ms (06:10)
started with a cane (06:39)
Wnted to shoot the haloween parade in village so got scooter in order to shoot for 3 hours (06:51)
realized i could take a picture of anything and make a statement with 1 push of a button (08:12)
found out about autofocus (08:45)
at first vision impairment was scary - could not read mail or street signs (10:00)
wore fancy magnifying glass (10:10)
ms can cause depression or euphoria (10:31)
i have the kind with euphoria as dr said - you will never come down to earth again (10:53)
has ms for 39 years (11:11)
started going to grandfathers dress shop and picking up scraps off floor to make doll dresses (12:29)
mother taught how to sew - went to FIT for 2 courses (13:22)
got job working for Revelon for 1000 a day and hired 2 tailors (13:43)
made could money as a designer and tailor until visual impairment (13:51)
could not see to work (14:02)
could not see wires on floor (14:05)
decided to go back to photo (14:18)
taught 1st photo class a lighthouse for the blind (14:38)
little has changed but with digital phot and shoot everything and does not cost (16:14)
look for unusual thing or things with humor (16:16)
hare today, gone tomorrow (16:30)
love gett shots in everyday life (17:25)
can't hold camera because hands do not work so need help taking photos (19:26)
ask attendant or strangers (19:34)
tell stranger how to shoot (20:08)
need attendants who can take photos and type (21:15)
writing autobiography (21:34)
street photography (24:14)
met husband at 17, married and had a son (24:25)
son helps with computer and works with wedding photographer (24:38)
hoping to get computer you can talk into and it types (25:03)
personal earthquake - published on TV "Shame on You" (28:30)
used her photos to get pedestrian ramps on corners (29:20)
once got 20 pounds of cemment and brought to corner ahd sat on ground to make a ramp (30:54)
write to mayors requesting ramps - now just have to remember where they are (31:05)
crazy photographer goes out at midnight to build ramp (31:14)
non camera club (34:48)
owns the negative but always gives credit to assistant (36:46)
loves to shoot at the haloween parade (37:10)
every year there are costumes making statements about the events of the year (37:28)
haloween is my only religious holiday - i don't miss a parade (37:57)
being blind in 1 eye don't have to close 1 eye when you shoot (39:04)
photo of man taking to dog in Brooklyn museum - someone to talk to (40:58)
never had a photo course (41:20)
mother died at 14 - lived on the street but aunt took her in and she had a good upbringing (45:39)
I started taking masterpieces from the day i pressed that button (47:59)
thirilled with my work (48:03)
can't wait until the big museum and library calls her in (48:15)

Transcript

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Interview Data

Date of Interview
October 14, 2014
Location of Interview
Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library
Place of birth
Miami Beach, Florida
Occupations
Freelance Photographer, unemployed
Birth Year
1945
Rights Statement
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About This Collection

Visible Lives: Oral Histories of the Disability Experience

Visible Lives: Oral Histories of the Disability Experience is an oral history project that works to both preserve and document a thematic history through personal recollections. This project will collect stories of people who are living with a disability and the Library will train community members to conduct these interviews. Interviews will be shared in a preservation archive at The Milstein Division and on the New York Public Library website.  Public programs will also connect neighborhood residents and project participants.

Visible Lives is a project of Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library in Manhattan.  A public archive will be kept at this local branch for future generations to listen to and research. 

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