Monday, December 8, 2014

Stephen Shore, Photographer

In the 1970's he was taking pictures of things that no one else was. He took a trip across country with the goal of documenting everything: including every meal he ate and every toilet he used. 

A formative influence was hanging out at Andy Warhol's Factory. By age 23 he had a show at the Metropolitan Museum.

Portrait of Stephen Shore, photographer, drawn from life by James Gurney
Last night Stephen Shore gave a slide show of his work in Rhinebeck, New York, and I drew his portrait as he spoke. He briefly struck a pose with a hand to his mouth, both pensive and guarded. The lecture gig had somehow slipped his mind, and he drifted in a half hour late after a few nervous phone calls from the bookstore owners.

His wild nimbus of white hair was rim-lit from the fluorescents of the bookstore. The projection screen lit him with soft light from the other side. I chose to portray him in grays, anticipating that he might talk about color vs. black and white. 

He said:
"When I started this work, no art photography was in color. Paul Strand told me, 'Higher emotions couldn't be communicated in color.' Mind boggling! What would Kandinsky think of that? I see the world in color. It's what it's like to see. Color gives cultural information. By 1990 almost all art photography was in color. Then in contrariness I started working in black and white."
Stephen Shore, Columbia South Carolina June 1972
Shore said, "I was interested in the immediacy that some snapshots have. I wanted to use repeated motifs, to capture some aspects of our culture. I was taking what we would now call screenshots of our field of vision."

Stephen Shore's photography is currently being featured in an career-spanning exhibit of 320 photographs at the Fundacion Mapfre in Madrid, Spain. The exhibition will continue in Berlin, Turin, and Amsterdam.
Stephen Shore's website. Photos ©Stephen Shore
Recommended books:
Stephen Shore: Survey,
Stephen Shore: Uncommon Places
Materials in portrait:
Caran D'ache - Supracolor watercolor pencils: black, white, slate grey, brownish beige, Vandyke brown.
Watercolor sketchbook, 5 x 8 inches. Portrait is about 4 x 5 inches.
Water brushes filled with clear water, dark gray ink, and black ink.


Roberto Quintana said...

Very nice portrait!
Did his 70'strip co-encide w yours?
His photo docs remind me of your recent post of Saturday, December 6, 2014: Screenshots from an average day. (coincidence?)
Thanx for not posting the the toilets (tmi)-RQ

Rich said...

"Great!!"...according to Mr. Shore's notice here.

Quite agree;
and leaves me wondering what you'll be preying upon next with your booklet of sketch;-)

James Gurney said...

Roberto--Haha, I thought about showing the toilet, but then thought the better of it. The screenshot idea I mentioned a few days back came from reading about Mr. Shore.

Rich, you never know who I'll strike next. It might be you!