PDN Photo of the Day

Joel Meyerowitz’s Journey Towards Color

Joel Meyerowitz: Towards Colour, 1962-1978,” a new show at Beetles+Huxley in London, traces the photographer’s move from black and white street photography to the large format color work that made up his first book, Cape Light, and established Meyerowitz as one of the pioneers of fine art color photography. On view until June 24, the show includes images made in Florida, New Mexico and New York City, as well as a selection taken during a 1966 trip across Europe which included France, Spain and Greece.

Meyerowitz began taking pictures in the early 1960s, inspired by seeing Robert Frank at work and following in Frank’s quick, observational style. But over the course of a decade, Meyerowitz leaned towards color, first in 35mm and eventually with an 8×10 view camera, and the shift affected his approach to photography. As he told an interviewer, “Once I changed to color full time I had to step back 15 feet or so from the plane I normally worked on when shooting on Fifth Avenue. That change—made to give color’s shallow depth of field more room to describe the entire space—caused me to reconsider what to make the frame about, and it was then that I gave up the ‘incident,’ long the basic way of working for street photographers.” Instead, he says, “I saw that by stepping back and taking in the overall image that I would need to make bigger prints with more ‘description,’ which, after all, is what photography does first; describe things.”

Related Stories:
Picturing Morandi’s Hat
Joel Meyerowitz on What He’s Learned: Part I (for PDN subscribers; login required)
Joel Meyerowitz on What He’s Learned: Part II (for PDN subscribers; login required)

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