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Monthly Masters DiscussionMonthly Masters' Discussion - October 2018- Stephen Shore's "Presidio, TX"

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minniev
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Monthly Masters' Discussion - October 2018- Stephen Shore's "Presidio, TX"

Post by minniev » Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:53 pm

Introduction:

Stephen Shore's work has been widely published and exhibited for the past forty-five years. He was the first living photographer to have a one-man show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York since Alfred Stieglitz, forty years earlier. Subsequently, he has had one man shows in famous galleries around the globe. In 2017, the Museum of Modern Art opened a major retrospective spanning Stephen Shore's entire career. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He was one of the pioneers of color photography. Yet, there is much dissent about the value of his work as art. His subject matter is often described as banal.

Consider this image, Presidio, TX, part of his Uncommon Places portfolio from the 1970s. Explore the reference articles below to see more of his images, since there is a commonality that will help you consider this particular one. The MOMA link below has some interesting videos as well.

Questions to Consider:

Here are some questions to help guide your thinking as you formulate your ideas:
1. What do you think of the composition? What “rules” are followed or broken?
2. Does the image tell a story? Some critics say the strength of Shore’s work is in the story he tells and the story he allows the viewer to create for themselves. Do you agree or disagree? Explain why. What story do you see here?
3. Shore is still actively working. He sells lots of prints for lots of money. Do you see the value? Would you want this image on your wall? Why or why not?
4. Do you see the influence of Shore in other modern photographers? If so, who in particular? It is possible that we may have been influenced by his style without ever having been aware of his work. Do you find any influence of his style in images you’ve taken? If so, please share one.
5. Shore is acknowledged for his influence on the use of color in fine art and journalistic photography. What do you think of the use of color in this image? Would black and white been just as powerful? More or less powerful? Why or why not?

Resources For Further Study

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Shore
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017 ... ublimities
http://www.houkgallery.com/artists/stephen-shore
http://stephenshore.net/photographs.php
https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/3769
https://hyperallergic.com/414167/why-ar ... han-yours/
http://time.com/3683272/the-photo-that- ... -n-y-1960/
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesig ... aphy-1970s
http://www.artnews.com/2017/12/01/archi ... moma-1977/
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Post by PietFrancke » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:42 pm

I find this image surprisingly appealing. Looking at it, I feel like I am there, perhaps walking with an empty gas can looking for help. The place feels dusty, a little forlorn, and full of story and questions (what's the purpose of that long fence?). The leading lines take us to the mountains, out of the local congestion and confusion. It seems a simple place, a place where not so long ago, we were gunslingers. A poor place, but the kind of place that could create a Robert E Howard or a Louis L'Amour

I have not been aware of Stephen Shore's work, thank you for opening this topic.

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Post by minniev » Tue Oct 02, 2018 2:14 pm

PietFrancke wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:42 pm
I find this image surprisingly appealing. Looking at it, I feel like I am there, perhaps walking with an empty gas can looking for help. The place feels dusty, a little forlorn, and full of story and questions (what's the purpose of that long fence?). The leading lines take us to the mountains, out of the local congestion and confusion. It seems a simple place, a place where not so long ago, we were gunslingers. A poor place, but the kind of place that could create a Robert E Howard or a Louis L'Amour

I have not been aware of Stephen Shore's work, thank you for opening this topic.
I learned of Shore while on the Forum That Can't Be Named, from a disreputable member named Art Grandpa who was eventually put out (not an easy task there). I didn't like what I saw initially, but in the spirit of openmindedness looked further and began to see the point of his work which I think is more understandable when viewed collections. Lots of links to those in the post if you get interested. Yes, this one looks like L'Amour or worse, Cormac McCarthy. His images from other parts of the country have a similar offhdnd casual appeal. I think he influenced me to some extent before I ever heard of him.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by vinnylepes » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:39 pm

Here are a couple videos I think you would all enjoy as you dig into Steven Shore's work.

This video tells the story surrounding one of his images and talks a little bit about his approach:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu1MWwzTpn4

In this one, the man himself tells a little backstory behind some of his work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T029CTSO0IE

Between these two videos, the uninitiated can get a fairly deep understanding of both his intentions and how his work is interpreted!

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Post by minniev » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:30 pm

vinnylepes wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:39 pm
Here are a couple videos I think you would all enjoy as you dig into Steven Shore's work.

This video tells the story surrounding one of his images and talks a little bit about his approach:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu1MWwzTpn4

In this one, the man himself tells a little backstory behind some of his work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T029CTSO0IE

Between these two videos, the uninitiated can get a fairly deep understanding of both his intentions and how his work is interpreted!
Thank you for these links. They will help fill out the picture of his work, which is somewhat enigmatic for many of us. As I noted in the introduction, he's a photographer I learned about from a source I suspected of leg-pulling anyway. Being a stubborn soul, I was determined to learn more on my own so I bought a book and found there was much more to Stephen Shore than I had got from the disagreeable forum member who claimed to be a disciple.

There are parts of Shore's work that remind me of Eggleston, whose work I have always liked. And there are similarities to the work of Jack Spencer, whose work I am very much inspired by. I'm not sure how to describe the commonality, though, and it might just be me.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by vinnylepes » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:25 pm

minniev wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:30 pm
There are parts of Shore's work that remind me of Eggleston, whose work I have always liked. And there are similarities to the work of Jack Spencer, whose work I am very much inspired by. I'm not sure how to describe the commonality, though, and it might just be me.

Eggleston is another master in this vein! For those just exploring this style of photography, here are a few amazing photographers to dive into:
  • Joel Meyerowitz
  • Joel Sternfeld
  • Mitch Epstein
Those three could keep someone busy for a while :)

Not by any means an exhaustive list but these are a few of my favorites and all had a major role in establishing color photography as an artistic medium--as well as Stephen Shore, of course!

There was a time when I didn't understand this work, and for years it just wasn't clicking for me. It was when I fell in love with the work of Todd Hido and Larry Sultan that I started to explore this lineage through their influences back over the past many years, and I still feel like I've only scratched the surface. One photographer led to another, and so on. Now I find my own personal work moving heavily in this direction!

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Post by minniev » Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:36 pm

vinnylepes wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:25 pm
minniev wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:30 pm
There are parts of Shore's work that remind me of Eggleston, whose work I have always liked. And there are similarities to the work of Jack Spencer, whose work I am very much inspired by. I'm not sure how to describe the commonality, though, and it might just be me.

Eggleston is another master in this vein! For those just exploring this style of photography, here are a few amazing photographers to dive into:
  • Joel Meyerowitz
  • Joel Sternfeld
  • Mitch Epstein
Those three could keep someone busy for a while :)

Not by any means an exhaustive list but these are a few of my favorites and all had a major role in establishing color photography as an artistic medium--as well as Stephen Shore, of course!

There was a time when I didn't understand this work, and for years it just wasn't clicking for me. It was when I fell in love with the work of Todd Hido and Larry Sultan that I started to explore this lineage through their influences back over the past many years, and I still feel like I've only scratched the surface. One photographer led to another, and so on. Now I find my own personal work moving heavily in this direction!
Thanks for these ideas. I’ve done a thread on Meyerowitz but not the others. There is much to learn within the rich legacy of our art.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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