Street shots of Joel Meierowitz
February 18, 2018
Joel Meyerowitz is a recognized genius, one of the most universal masters of photography, who can find exceptional moments in ordinary places and has repeatedly changed the style of shooting.
It is difficult to overestimate the impact that Robert Frank's American photo book had on the generation of photographers who came into the photo art after its publication in 1958. But Joel Meyerowitz inspired this classic extraordinarily. “Robert Frank is the reason I take photographs,” he says. “But not because I saw his work, which would have impressed me, but because I saw him at work.”
In 1962, after studying the history of painting and art, Meyerowitz worked as art director of the magazine. Once he watched a studio shoot in the center of Manhattan, then an insight happened. “The photographer moved around the room and made a flick, a flick, a flick, a flick! He also told the girl models to keep moving. I was hypnotized. I did not know anything about the photo, except that it should be motionless, but that guy was constantly moving while shooting motion. Robert Frank did not say a word to me that day, but he irrevocably influenced me.I walked out of there and literally saw the world differently. Everywhere I looked, there was movement everywhere and there was color. ”
Meyerowitz returned to the office where his boss, a man named Harry Gordon, was waiting for him. He asked how the shooting went. Joel replied: “The shooting was great and, by the way, I'm leaving. I will be a photographer. ” In an attempt to influence his decision, the amazed Gordon explained that Frank was a great photographer, and not just a commercial photographer. “It didn't work,” Meyerowitz recalls. “In fact, his words had the opposite effect.” “Do you have a camera?” Asked the boss. “Not yet,” Meyerowitz admitted. In the end, Gordon gave him his camera. “That's when I - a shy newcomer with a borrowed Pentax - took to the streets without knowing anything about photography.”
In a sense, Meyerowitz’s original ignorance about photography, its methods and traditions worked in his favor. He did not think about whether to use color film or black and white. “The world is in bloom. It was obvious to me. I had no idea that people do not take color photography seriously. It seemed to me that black and white is something historical. ” So Meyerowitz joined the pioneers of color street photography in the era of practicing black and white photography, which brought him fame.In the mid-1970s, he carried two cameras with him - one was black and white film, the second was color.
"Due to the use of color, my efforts on the street moved away from the" caught "moment to more diffuse observation, to an image in which everything played an equal role: people on the street, architecture, quality of the day, angle of light, shadows, simultaneous minor events."
Having decided to devote himself to photography, Meyeritz faced the main question: “How can I choose what to photograph?” I must say, he repeatedly rethought the answer to this question, completely changing the style, format, genre. Fifty-five years later, his assets include early street photos, brooding landscapes, pictures of the timeless beauty of the Cape Cod Peninsula, portraits of redheads, the epic chronicle of the zero, as well as "amazing coincidences". “For the most part, what I'm looking for is a moment of surprise. Those moments when the breath unwittingly stops, and you say: "Wow!"