Revisiting the characters of her childhood by getting up close and personal with strangers

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Street photographer Michelle Groskopf’s images let us know what fascinates her right away. “Street photography acts as a time machine for me. It has this funny way of allowing me to revisit the characters and tone of my childhood.

“Even though I’ve spent my life trying to get as far away as possible from the small Canadian suburb I grew up in, when it comes to my work it seems clear to me that I’m just trying to make my way back home.”

Teen culture, femininity and suburbia all feature heavily in her work, which has been featured in the likes of Vice, Fotografia Magazine and Conde Nast Traveler. “I’m interested in the places where the suburbs intersect with the city,” Groskopf says.

“The sorts of attitudes, fashion and geometry these spaces tend to inspire in the people traversing them. I have a desperate desire to get as close up to these details as possible. For that reason my world tends to be one full of tension. People tend not to like being scrutinised.” 

Now represented by international photo agency INSTITUTE, who also manage Dougie Wallace and Rena Effendi, the LA-based photographer’s work is bright, brash and by her own admission, unapologetically self-centred: “Street photography is a daily meditation for me. It’s been a remarkably powerful tool for self-realisation. I shoot a lot and when I look back on the work I can clearly see an internal outline, a collection of all the various things that thrill me. It will always be more about myself then the individuals I’m photographing.”

As bracingly honest as her images can be, as she writes on her website, they are more an opening for conversation than an unflattering reveal: “It didn’t matter what city I was in, I’d find them, these people that seemed so familiar to me. I’d get so close to them with my camera they would be forced to talk to me. They’d ask me why and I would tell them that I thought they were beautiful.”
























Find Michelle on Instagram.

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