Click to preview The Faces of IZZY's Coffee Den photo book

Upon moving to downtown Asheville in 2005 in order to work on the all consuming project of "Sock Monkey Dreams" I found myself transported into the magical world of unrestrained creativity and new bohemia called Lexington Avenue. I had only planned on staying a few months but instead found myself trapped in the so called “Vortex” and eager to start my next project. Rich in literary history as the early stomping grounds of Thomas Wolfe and O. Henry, it’s a haven for artists, musicians, and other creative types and is urban living at it's fullest. A rare freedom in the rural and often conservative South. The fresh idea of becoming a downtown Ashevillian was exciting but living on Chicken Alley and the realization of not having a yard, porch or space to gather my thoughts and rest in peace outside the confines of my home was something I was having trouble adapting to. That was until I discovered a different kind of retreat...Izzy's Coffee Den and with it the perfect subject, my new friends called the "regulars".

Izzy's still remains an oasis for those to gather away from their home, studio or local service job. Initially this project was created as a gift to honor Rob and Genae who created Izzy's and pulled together a community that would have otherwise just passed on the street, maybe passing a glance or saying hello but never stopping to meet.

Like the photography in Richard Avedon’s "In the American West". I chose stark white backgrounds and no color where the people are the only subject, only textures and only distraction. These portraits where taken between 2007-2008 and I still continue to document the people of Asheville though I have since moved from Chicken Alley.

Michael Traister


About the Author

Michael Traister
mtraister Asheville, North Carolina

Publish Date  November 26, 2008

Dimensions  Small Square  120 pgs Standard Paper

Category  Arts & Photography

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