Wednesday, October 20, 2010
FEATURED: Two by Stephen Shore
Uncommon Places: The Complete Works
"Published by Aperture in 1982 and long unavailable, Stephen Shore's legendary Uncommon Places has influenced a generation of photographers. Among the first artists to take color beyond advertising and fashion photography, Shore's large-format color work on the American vernacular landscape stands at the root of what has become a vital photographic tradition. Uncommon Places: The Complete Works presents a definitive collection of the original series, much of it never before published or exhibited. Like Robert Frank and Walker Evans before him, Shore discovered a hitherto unarticulated version of America via highway and camera. Approaching his subjects with cool objectivity, Shore's images retain precise internal systems of gestures in composition and light through which the objects before his lens assume both an archetypal aura and an ambiguously personal importance. In contrast to Shore's signature landscapes with which Un-common Places is often associated, this expanded survey reveals equally remarkable collections of interiors and portraits. As a new generation of artists expands on the projects of the New Topographic and New Color photographers of the seventies--Thomas Struth (whose first book was titled Unconscious Places), Andreas Gursky and Catherine Opie among them--Uncommon Places: The Complete Works provides a timely opportunity to reexamine the diverse implications of Shore's project and offers a fundamental primer for the last 30 years of large-format color photography."
American Surfaces (out of print)
"In 1972, Stephen Shore left New York City and set out with a friend to Amarillo, Texas. He didn't drive, so his first view of America was framed by the passenger's window frame. He was taken aback by the fact that his experience of life as a New Yorker had very little in common with the character and aspirations of Middle America. Later that year he set out again, this time on his own, with just a driver's licence and a Rollei 35 - a point-and-shoot camera - to explore the country through the eyes of an everyday tourist.
The project was entitled American Surfaces, in reference to the superficial nature of his brief encounters with places and people, and the underlying character of the images that he hoped to capture. Shore photographed relentlessly and returned to New York triumphant, with hundreds of rolls of film spilling from his bags. In order to remain faithful to the conceptual foundations of the project, he followed the lead of most tourists of the time and sent his film to be developed and printed in Kodak's labs in New Jersey.
The result was hundreds and hundreds of exquisitely composed colour pictures, that became the benchmark for documenting our fast-living, consumer-orientated world. The corpus of his work - following on from Walker Evans' and Robert Frank's epic experiences of crossing America - influenced photographers such as Martin Parr and Bernd & Hilla Becher, who in turn introduced a new generation of students to Shore's work."
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