Queens native has passion for pix

Visual impairments and multiple sclerosis have not stopped Flo Fox from continuing with her passion for photography.

Now a resident of Manhattan, Fox spent her childhood in Woodside and, after she was married, lived in Flushing for a few years.

Fox first became interested in photography while flipping through a magazine. When she came across of photo of people looking out the windows of a trolley car, she noticed that “you could get into the people’s feelings” through the photos. She was also impressed that the photographers name was published in the magazine.

She immediately told her mother she wanted a camera. Her mother said she would get Fox a camera when she graduated ninth grade, but she passed away before that happened.

When she was 26 years old, Fox finally got her first camera. During the last 38 years, she said she has never left her house without a camera, adding that she has it “every moment every day.”

“I always carry two cameras,” said Fox, who uses 35mm cameras.

Fox is visually impaired and said that some doctors consider her bordering on being legally blind. But that has not gotten in the way of her photography.

“I was actually born blind in one eye so I never had to close one eye to take a photograph,” she said. “I never got confused with three dimensional views because I only see on a flat plane, which made it perfect for photography.”

In 1975, Fox began to have visual impairment in her good eye, eventually finding out that it was the onset of multiple sclerosis (MS). As the MS progressed, Fox started have problems walking and is now in a motorized wheelchair. She also said that her hands are “close to useless,” accept for one that she can move a little bit.

“I now have full-time help to feed me, clothe me and take my photos for me,” Fox said. “They have to listen and try and capture what I am interpreting. Sometimes I get magnificent photos but the majority of the time it’s not as good as I would have done.”

During the process, which she has been using for the last 11 years, Fox tells the person where to stand and how far to extend the lens. She said she can visualize what they’re seeing through the camera and tell them when to take the picture.

Fox’s works have been displayed all over the world. She said that she tends to take photos that have an “ironic reality” or are “things with a touch of humor.” Fox also said she likes to return to the locations she photographs to document changes they have undergone.

One of the places she revisited was her childhood area of Woodside. While there, she was able to take a photo of two girls balancing on the same fences she used to practice balancing on.

Fox said she hopes people get a happy feeling from seeing her work. She uses her photography to remain cheerful and is hopeful that others feel the same.

“I’m glad that I’m an inspiration and get a lot of emails from many other people who are…physically challenged and show them that life goes on,” she said.

There is a ring that Fox wears on her wedding band finger. On it is a little gold camera.

“I always say that I’m married to my camera,” Fox said.

Fox will be speaking at B&H Photo, located at 420 9th Avenue, at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, November 16.

For more information about Fox and her work, visit www.flofox.com or email [email protected].


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