From Stoller's Perspective
Edie Cohen -- Interior Design, 3/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
Ezra Stoller was a trained architect and a master photographer. His daughter, Erica, is neither. Yet the modern movement owes a debt to both.
For six decades, starting in the 1930's in black-and-white, Ezra Stoller captured American architecture: Ely Jacques Kahn and Charles Schweizer's Longchamps restaurant in New York's Empire State Building; the futuristic garage at the base of Frank Lloyd Wright's Johnson Wax tower in Racine, Wisconsin; Eero Saarinen & Associates's TWA Terminal at Idlewild Airport. And those are just a few standouts from the history of Esto, the photographic agency he founded in Mamaroneck, New York, in 1966.
Helping out on weekends as a kid, Erica Stoller recalls, was "easier than babysitting." After graduating from Vermont's Bennington College, where she studied painting, she joined the family business full-time in '79. Around the same time, Esto took on its first additional photographer, Peter Aaron, and he's still represented by the agency today.
Ezra Stoller died in 2004—were he alive now, he'd hardly recognize the transformed Esto. Erica Stoller has made it into the William Morris Agency of the photo world. Recent years have seen her booking and managing seven more photographers, including newcomer Albert Vecerka, and the staff has grown to 10.
Meanwhile, a small archive has evolved into a full-scale library of stock images, even encompassing the estates of photographers such as Wayne Andrews. Migrating from film to digital has expanded Esto's searchable database, too. "What good are the images," Erica Stoller asks, "if no one can find them?"