“I was photographing every meal I ate, every person I met, every waiter or waitress who served me, every bed I slept in, every toilet I used.”
Stephen Shore (American, born in 1947) began showing us everyday America through a lens we never considered in the 70's. He mastered making the ordinary not so ordinary. For one, he alarmed everyone with vivid colored photographs that the world wasn't used to. His first solo show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1972 almost pissed people off. Apparently they weren't ready for photography to jolt into color just yet.
His mundane looks at American pop culture shocked many and ultimately made him one of the most significant photographers of our time. Shore preaches to his students at Bard to begin photographing with film, expressing that "younger photographers need to pay their dues in the darkroom". Although he has dabbled with various types of film, beginning with 35mm film, working his way up to large-format, then hopping on the digital train and now he primarily uses his iPhone to share his daily life.
Shore inspires me to slow down, which is something I really admire. Especially today, when everything is moving so fast, convienence is a priority, and people spend half their day scrolling on their phone and walking into trees instead of looking at them.
I cant say I haven’t fallen into the luxuries and amenities of this era, but there is a balance I’m trying desperately to find. When I sit and look at Shore’s work, I’m reminded of tiny moments that one doesn’t hold onto as it’s happening, but only clings for them once they’re gone.
Messy plates, crooked forks, hollowed skies. Stephen Shore takes you on a road trip with his photography, and you can’t help but feel like you’re riding shotgun.