On Photography: Joel Meyerowitz, 1938-present

On Photography: Joel Meyerowitz, 1938-present

“In art photography there was still a huge bias against color, as if only black and white was aesthetically justifiable. I never bought it. , I felt I needed it to give my own labor.. Just as we have memories of smells, we have memories of colors.It means that the world is covered in color, right?” -Joel Meyer witz

Joel Meyerowitz was one of the first fine art photographers to move from monochrome to color. He has the ability to tell visual stories in street photography, still life and landscapes.


Joel Meyerowitz was walking down Manhattan when he noticed a young woman combing her boyfriend’s Elvis-style hairstyle. As he was taking pictures, the man looked up at him through the window. Meyerwitz imagined that the girl likely styled the doll’s hair in the same way. I was shy and mustered up my courage, and if the glass wasn’t there, I probably wouldn’t have been able to get so close (top photo, top row, third image).”

Joel Meyerowitz served as art director for the pamphlet he was designing with acclaimed photographer Robert Frank. He was amazed at how easily Frank manipulated the scene with the camera.

Meyerwitz says: You can move while operating the camera. Wow! I wanted to do that too. ”


Book Signed Berlin by Joel Meyerwitz Copyright: © Dacian Groza

Joel Meyerowitz found that working on the streets in the 1960s made him a master of technology. After meeting Frank, he pursued Garry Winogrand, a tireless and enthusiastic street photographer. His photograph “New York City, 1975” is like a carefully choreographed vision. it’s not. Joel Meyerowitz captured it as it happened on the streets of Manhattan. He has the patience to wait for the moment and the instinct to know when to press the shutter. How many people can you see in the image (top photo, top row, first image?)

A couple in camel coats, to the right of them are two others with shadows on their backs, a man deep in the darkness, two shadows and eight shadows of Meyerwitz himself.

“Hartwig House, Touro, Massachusetts, 1976”

A year after shooting New York in 1976, Joel Meyerowitz used an 8-by-10-inch view camera to explore the simple, uncluttered interior of the Hartwig home (top photo, top row, second image). ) is created. The immediacy of both photographs is easy to see, one being momentary and the other carefully composed and exposed.

unspoken communication

A girl in a blue top and white pants (top photo, bottom row, first image) poses for a photo while making eye contact with Joel Meyerwitz. There is a connection between them. She stays still until the camera lowers. Does she know she’s the focus? This implicit communication that Meyerwitz makes immediately with his subject is why his work speaks so clearly to the viewer.

About photography: Joel Meyerwitz, 1938-present
Longnuok Beach, Truro, Massachusetts, 1985

Today’s “street”

“No one is looking at each other. Everyone is glued to their phones.” He wonders if street photography still exists. The best street photographers show humans dwarfed by billboards. ”

Source: Guardian, International Center of Photography, New York Times.

On Photography features photographers who inspire you.


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