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Joel Meyerowitz, Out of the Ordinary
1970-1980
Michaël Houlette, August 23, 2006
P: Joel Meyerowitz, From the Car, the South, 1967 - Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, NY
P: Joel Meyerowitz, From the Car, the South, 1967 - Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, NY

Because of using color my efforts on the street moved away from the “caught” moment toward a more dispersed observation, toward a non-hierarchical image in which everything played an equal role; the people on the street, the architecture, the quality of the day, the angle of the light, the weight of the shadows, the simultaneity of minor events. This overall-ness I called, “field photographs.” I meant them to be about the “experience” of being on the street, in that specific city, on that day, in that precise season and year, so that viewers might experience for themselves what it felt like in that moment. I hoped that people might “read” the photograph rather than look for an incident as the hook to lure one into the photograph.

P: Joel Meyerowitz, Theresa St. St. Louis,1977 - Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, NY
P: Joel Meyerowitz, Theresa St. St. Louis,1977 - Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, NY

Step by step I moved larger and then, suddenly, I bought an 8x10 inch view camera. This was antithetical to my whole way of thinking and working. This was the camera those “old men” on the west coast, Adams and Weston used, and I was a New Yorker, speed was my nature, the jazzy riffs of street life were my milieu.

My rational in this moment is that during this period I changed from the quick, reflexive 35mm shooting of the urban scene and its complex spaces, to the more meditative, spacious and luminous view camera work. And that In fact, my behaviour and my sense of time underwent a transformation that deeply influenced my work from that time on.”

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