A major photographic project examines the disappearing face of twentieth-century urban life and the increasing obsolescence of non-digital photography.
The photographs in Zoe Leonard's Analogue trace the “layered, frayed, and quirky” beauty of a fading way of life. Zoe Leonard documents the vanishing face and texture of twentieth century urban life, as seen in the shop windows of mom-and-pop stores. Lacking the glamour of the shopping mall and the digitally manipulated perfection of mail order catalogs, these fading objects tenaciously hold on to their disappearing place on city streets. Recognizing that digital technology has transformed traditional photography just as chain stores and multinational corporations have changed the face of urban life, Leonard attempts to preserve the photographic realm of the analogic—the photograph's distinct ability to record physical data into a corresponding image. Analogue is a testament both to vanishing city storefronts and to the endangered status of photography itself. Leonard also documents a twenty-first century phenomenon, the globalized rag trade. Her photographs follow a shipment of discarded clothing from a clearing station in her native Brooklyn to used clothing markets in Kampala—showing us, in the trajectory of one commodity, the economic and social forces that link us globally. Analogue accompanies a major exhibition of the same name at the Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University. It includes 96 color images from the exhibition and a text compiled by the artist of quotations from diverse sources.