Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Investigating other artists - Stephen Shore

Stephen Shore (b 1947) first came to my attention in the book "The photograph as contemporary art" in the chapter discussing deadpan photography. His image "Untitled  28a" (1972) caught my attention for its 'ordinary-ness' and the colour tones of the photograph. I started reading more about Shore and was surprised I had not come across him before. I have an interest in Joel Meyerowitz and William Eggleston, who alongside Shore are often named as leading the way in the acceptance of colour film into the art world.

Shore is represented by 303 Gallery, New York, where a good selection of his images can be viewed on-line (link). The vernacular style of the photographs bring to mind the snap-shots we may have taken when first venturing into photography.

It is difficult to analyse and pinpointing why this work it grabs ones attention. Perhaps viewing the images does take us back to our first attempts at photography? Maybe we feel slightly voyeuristic due to the subject matter, as if we are looking at somebody else's private shots. In many of the images you get the feeling of being there with the subjects or present in  the street scene depicted.

Technically there does seem to be a geometric thread that can be followed through many of the pictures. This is starting to become apparent even in Shore's earlier work 'The velvet years'. The centre of the image often holds a point of interest, even if that comprises of a simple table lamp (Room 110, Holiday Inn, Brainerd, MI, ) or TV set (Stampeder Motel, Ontario, Oregon, July 19, 1973) . The eye is often 'pushed' to this point by leading lines from surrounding objects. In many of the shots it is possible to find a triangular composition hidden away in the everyday surroundings.

Shore has been acknowledged as an influence by Martin Par and Nan Goldin among others.

One of the challenges I have set myself when investigating other artists, is to try and initially mimic and subsequently build on their style. I believe this will open up my experience of trying things that I may never have tried of my own accord.

Cotton, C , "'The photograph as contemporary art',Thames & Hudson world of art.
Wikipedia. (accessed February 2012).
303 Gallery representing Stephen Shore. (accessed February 2012).