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Laurie Toby Edison

Updated: Jan 19, 2019

Artist 41

Laurie Toby Edison Portrait Photography

Laurie Toby Edison is an American portrait photographer active in feminist art, queer activist, and fat acceptance movements.

Edison's work is black-and-white fine art photography, with an underlying social change message, which she often phrases as "making the invisible visible.”

She and her writing partner Debbie Notkin blog about body image and related topics at Body Impolitic.

Edison identifies as Jewish and queer. As a child living in Jewish neighborhoods, she noted Holocaust survivors with number tattoos and was "deeply affected" by photographs of naked dead bodies from concentration camps.

She was also influenced by the beat movement, abstract expressionism, and jazz music

She was active in the feminist movement in the 1970s and moved to San Francisco - an epicenter of feminism - in 1980. In the 1980s, she taught herself photography to use as an art form with social activism.

Her work gives a respectful voice to her subjects. She collects their stories and portrays them in reflection of the dignity the deserve.

As Bob Guter says in Familiar Men:

“I would like to be able to tell you that if I have my legs off when the UPS man rings I answer the door on my knees, or that when some jerk accosts me on the street with ‘What happened to your hand?’ I counter with a spectacularly wiseass response, or that appearing in this book has made it a pleasure for me to look in the mirror at last. Those are things I would like to be able to tell you. In the meantime I continue to amass a body of evidence... “ [1999-2007]

Sources consulted:


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