Zoe Strauss was born in Philadelphia. Strauss is a self-taught photographer, described as the chronicler of Philadelphia's mean streets and the city’s own Diane Arbus. On her 30th birthday, she was given a camera and started taking pictures of life in Philadelphia’s marginal neighborhoods. Shows, awards, acclaim and fellowships soon followed. For the last eight years, she has exhibited her photos in the attention-grabbing annual installation, Under I-95. Strauss has been awarded the Leeway Grant (2002), Arcadia Works on Paper Award (2004), Pew Fellow Award (2005) and Zoe Strauss Night at the Whitney Museum (2006).