2nd St. East & South Main St., Kalispell, Montana, August 22, 1974 by Stephen Shore.
My affinity for photographer Stephen Shore’s Americana began with the above image of Kalispell, Montana. Though I’d never been to Kalispell, my grandmother grew up there and Shore’s photograph perfectly embodied the place my young mind had shaped from her stories. Years later, it was featured in Dossier Issue 2. This same enchanting maturation of vivid reality to iconic imagery runs through photographer Joel Meyerowitz’s work in the book Cape Light, published in 1979 and excerpted in our current issue.
Today, both Shore and Meyerowitz are heralded as early masters of color photography, which is the theme of the Edwynn Houk Gallery’s exhibition Pioneers of Color. Additionally, the show features fellow ’70s photographer William Eggleston, whose highly saturated raw images communicate the era’s charged contradiction of pop culture devotion and social disenchantment. With an eye on the work of predecessors Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank and Walker Evans, these three photographers immortalized the ordinary, capturing the way in which the mundane moved America and advancing color photography from a strictly commercial entity to a legitimate art form. While a selection of the images can be viewed in the newly released book Starburst: Color Photography in America, 1970-1980, if you can make it to the exhibition, do. Nothing is comparable to seeing the full selection of prints in person.
Pioneers of Color runs through April 24th at the Edwynn Houk Gallery: 745 5th Avenue, New York.
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Red Interior, Provincetown, 1977 by Joel Meyerowitz.
Untitled by William Eggleston.