The upstate–New York native, who’s now based in Paris and Los Angeles, makes fastidious photographs of stark still lifes and women who—with their faces often turned away, obscured by shadows, or simply unseen— seem mysterious. But by shrinking her frame down in size, Ghertner invites the viewer closer. “I like a really small world,” she explains.
“Zoe’s audacious cropping can bring inanimate objects to life,” says Penny Martin, editor of the magazine The Gentlewoman, which often publishes Ghertner’s work. The 28-year-old photographer started out shooting on film using natural light and learned to capture people by focusing first on the hands. Gradually, she began to include more of the female form—and she’s been a quick study, aided by her early training in ballet: “I have an ability,” she says, “to see the body in its most flattering lines.”