Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Passing Mile Markers, Snapping Pictures

Second Street, Ashland, Wisconsin, July 9, 1973 © Stephen Shore
Courtesy Aperture Foundation


In 1973 Stephen Shore set out from New York to photograph the United States for what became a book called “Uncommon Places.” He shot his motel room in Idaho Falls. He shot a pancake breakfast at the Trail’s End Restaurant in Kanab, Utah. He shot a rainbow arching over a rain-soaked parking lot in Lovell, Wyo.

And, out of his rearview mirror, while driving along U.S. 97 in Oregon, south of Klamath Falls, he spotted, against a magnificently clouded sky, a billboard with a painting of a snow-peaked mountain. So he stopped to photograph that too.

He was in his mid-20s and already a star. A dozen years earlier, at 14, he had sold some of his photographs to the Museum of Modern Art. Then he started hanging out in Andy Warhol’s Factory, where he lighted shows for the Velvet Underground and absorbed Warhol’s general deadpan aesthetic, with its embrace of serialism and its fixation on banal, everyday things.


ICP Slideshow

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