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Stephen Shore 2

Uncommon Places

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Stephen Shore, a master photographer from America is known for his photos of common images and scenes in the United States and his use of color in art photography.

Stephen Shore's interests in photography started as early as when he was six years old. The two most treasured gifts he received in his childhood in addition to his first 35 mm camera were, a darkroom kit for his 6th birthday and a copy of Walker Evans's American Photographs for his 10th birthday - all which seem to have had an indelible impact on his approach to Photography. Stephen says that Walker Evans influenced him beyond explanation. He even found similarities between Evan's personality and temperament, and thereby a strong sense of kinship with the master photographer since his childhood. With such strong influences in photography in his growing years, Stephen claims to have had very clear career goals even before his tenth birthday.

When he was in his high school years he was so busy teaching himself the history of movie making and watching films everyday, while juggling a job in an orchestra, that he didn't have the time for school. Subsequent to his assignment at The Factory, Andy Warhol's studio, he decided to officially drop out of school. The three years that he worked with Andy Warhol were very important years for Stephen simply because he got to see an artist making decisions. His experience at The Factory, was the first in aesthetic thinking. Andy didn't teach him anything explicitly but Stephen got to see how an artist made important decisions. Andy's readiness to share information and include Stephen in simple yet important decisions helped him understand and apply the same to Photography.

His approach to photography has changed over the years. In the 70s he took pictures on urban landscapes, in the 80s natural landscapes and later with the responsibility of a family learnt to incorporate photography wherever he was, instead of traveling to pursue it.

Stephen Shore also teaches students of photography in different Universities. He says students who have only worked with digital and never in colour or print, lack the ability to 'see'. He affirms that working with films gives an insight to how color would translate on film and paper. Most photographers can see in Black and White simply by switching in their minds and that ability cannot come by purely working with digital.

Stephen encourages students to see the world with conscious attention and hints that what they make out of it is their own. 



I really like his excellent analysis on why and how the 8x10 camera changed his photography. I would appreciate a third part in which he reveals what elements and techniques finally allowed him to portrait the open grasslands as a three dimensional space. I wish you good light! -- Michael