If this is great art then I have a fortune tucked away in boxes in my closet.
I also knew it was Shore, having just looked through his re-released edition of Uncommon Places at Borders.
I don't think you can evaluate a single photograph when taken out of its intended context of a series or group. The different projects that Shore worked on were a narrative of travels he did in the early 70s and so I think you need to see the entire work to appreciate the individual images.
Photography, more so then any other medium, has a definite "past due date" at which images heavy on dated subject matter become less and less relevant or interesting as time goes by. For myself, the 70s were my junior and senior high school years and to view many of the images in the book were like applying an electric shock to my memory. For younger forum members, the images just as well be 100 years old. So as time passes, these images become more a simple document about a time in history. If you want a record of pure middle class America circa 1975, this is a good place to start.
In looking at large projects like Shore's I always feel like there is always a number of pretty weak images that should have not made the final cut. I would agree with others that this is one of the weakest in the whole book.
Shore was considered one of the young stars of the photography scene and was singled out by John Szarkowski at MOMA as one of the pioneers who moved photography into the world of fine art. (IIRC he may have been the youngest photographer to ever get a show there). You could roughly lump his style (static, urban, LF) in with the "new topographers" Lewis Baltz and Robert Adams.
"Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
No....unless it's lack of anything is the point in which case the only point it has is to make a rather pathetic and obvious, erm, point.
I can't stand this sort of bull. It tends to suggest a certain intellectual superiority which if not the intent of the photographer tends to be the intend of those who make claims about such work (if you can call it that). It is in the same category as dissected sheep or unmade beds if you ask me - intellectual waste product.
Did I say how pointless it was?
Horribly incorrect...! in fact Shore predates Eggleston slightly and in some ways Shore influenced Eggleston (though they are essentially contemporaries who both, later, influenced each other).
Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
As for advertising photographer - Shore has been primarily an artist for his whole career - and this image is from "Uncommon Places" - one of the most influential early works of the New Colour photographers (and it's hard to remember how ground breaking and radical this book was when it was first published - it has influenced so many things since, we are used to the look and feel of it now, 30 years later). The advertising work came much later - his style and approach was being copied by so many others, why not do some yourself! - he is essentially hired to do a limited number of magazine and/or ad shoots because those clients want Shore's style.
So much colour work that came afterwards has been influenced by Shore's work - including his contemporaries - Eggleston, Sternfeld, Myerowitz etc, later, to the whole colour side of the Dusseldorf School - Gursky, Struth, Egger, Tillmans, Hofer, Ruff etc and on to other current artists such as Lynne Cohen, Burtynsky, Southam, Jim Cooke. All have a part of their roots in Shore's work
Shore is seminal to all this.
(and on, as I mentioned earlier, into film/movies, TV, painting and design etc)
I don't see anything beautiful about this photo. Of course I have my own view on what is beautiful. I admit, I'm a bit mystified with the idea of grasping the full meaning of what can be described as beautiful. But I think I know it when I see it or feel it.
And this photo..... not happening
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I think he sold his first two prints to Edward Steichen at MoMA when he was 14....
Originally Posted by Jim Chinn
I just put Shore's "Uncommon Places" on my Amazon wish list. I'm pretty ignorant of his work but it interests me now. Thanks for a most enlightening thread.
Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
no digital additives and shit
Although it may evoke a memory to you about the 70s, I don't see any nostalgia in this picture. You could drive through poor neighborhoods in most North American cities and see this exact picture today.
Originally Posted by Jim Chinn
As someone who has never had the desire to photograph much in a "series" I could see how that this picture could lend itself to being a part of that series and be making a statement.
I do think that in still photography, as compared to documentary film making, the single image has to stand alone on its merits.
This picture in itself has no merit.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
I guess I'm an idiot. I certainly am no artist and my formal education was in Mathematics. I got a solid "C" in the one art class I did take...and that was a History class. I'm obviously not qualified to go flaunting some sort of Bullshit intellectual superiority...so, I must be an idiot because, I honestly really like this photo.
Here is a photo that, as presented, appears to be nothing more than an quick and dirty snap shot of the side yard of some ordinary suburbanite. Like mom used to take....but, mom didn't use an 8x10 Deardorff. She used a Kodak Instamatic that took pictures on 126 film. Mom didn't have any formal art training. Mom only read about Andy Warhol - she never worked with him. And mom certainly would never have taken a full year out of her life to travel cross country to make photographs of crap like this. Mom would have at least got Uncle Frank and Aunt Loise to stand in front of the big Lincoln with the kids!
I like the photo and most of Shore's later work. It reminds me of my own humanity. Grounds me in my insignificance. We tend to think so highly of ourselves. We live high and act with even more arrogance. In Uncommon Places Shore exposes American life as it really is. He yanks us off our high horse and rubbs our nose in the little stinky puddle we've made for ourselves.
The photo also reminds me that I am constantly surrunded by beauty. Often so subtle, it passes unnoticed. I must awaken my senses. Soften my heart, not be so callous and synical. Beauty surrounds us. We have become so numb to it that we can't find beauty in anything anymore unless it jumps up infront of us, bitch slaps us and blasts our eyeballs out of thier sockets with lurid, super saturated colors, perfect shapes and not so subtle sexual content.
All this negativity...saddens me.
It is the 3rd of June, 1976 - Fort Worth, Texas. It's not spring and yet not summer either. The freshness of spring has gone from the air. The oppressive heat of summer is hinted at by early afternoon. The kids are out of school. Our nation is already starting to celebrate its bi-centennial. The neighbors are gone on summer vacation and we're watching their house. None of us bother to lock our doors. There are power lines running through the yard, a peanut farmer in the white house and a hostage crisis that will change the course of politics in America and the middle east for years to come. We americans are still reeling from the "Energy Crisis" and our involvement in Vietnam. The neighbor's kid is home from college and parked his new, Japanese economy car on my side of the street. A house, a yard...a place to call home. More than even some Americans can hope for really. And yet, maybe this IS as good as it gets. Life can be like that.