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Stephen Shore

American Photographer

Stephen Shore Photo

Born: October 8, 1947 - New York City

"I'd thought about this in a certain way before - about this idea of how to make a picture look natural. In a way I deconstructed all of that over a period of years and made pictures that were almost the opposite, very intensely structured."

Stephen Shore Signature

Summary of Stephen Shore

Stephen Shore has achieved widespread recognition for the way in which his work has moved documentary and landscape photography beyond the monumental and newsworthy and toward explorations of everyday life and the emotions with which people see. Shore was heavily influenced by his time spent at Andy Warhol's Factory as a teenager, developing into a photographer with a persistent interest in serialization and the quotidian across a practice embracing experimentation and new technologies. Shore's best-known work, taken over the course of long drives across the United States and Canada, reconsiders the North American interior, showing these countries through overlooked details rather than romantic formulas and challenging the photographic establishment's dismissal of color through unapologetic use of bright shades and unusual tonal contrasts. In recent years, Shore has continued to innovate, exploring new forms of street photography, portraiture and the possibilities of digital cameras.

Key Ideas

Shore's photographs often appear as unstudied snapshots before revealing themselves, on closer examination, to be carefully calculated and balanced. His images show a deep consideration of framing, with lines and colors chosen to emphasize the formal qualities of the places or objects within the frame, heightening the viewer's focus.
Shore's images are structured around the experience of seeing, seeking to communicate the way in which the everyday might register to an outsider. He has regularly used his work as a form of visual diary, communicating his own experiences through his photographs. Shore's photographic choices suggest emotional states to the audience, often drawing power through the ways in which light and composition evoke feelings that the viewer cannot name.
Color, prior to Shore's use of it, was regularly dismissed by artistic photographers, who believed that it distracted audiences from considerations of form and light. It was additionally disparaged due to its connection with commercial activities, associated with advertising and the snapshots that tourists took while on holidays. Shore, along with others working at around the same time, including William Eggleston, Joel Sternfeld and Richard Misrach, used color to add depth and complexity to his images, at once questioning the established rules of the discipline and the distinctions made between the snapshot and fine art.
Stephen Shore Photo

Stephen Shore was born in 1947 and grew up on New York City's Upper East Side. Shore was the only child of Jewish parents running a handbag company and lived a privileged existence, with annual trips to Europe and regular exposure to art and other forms of culture. He was given a darkroom set by an uncle when he was six, which he used to develop his family's snapshots, taken with a simple and inexpensive Kodak Brownie, often experimenting with different ways of printing the images using cardboard masks. Shore had little practice taking his own photographs, however, until the age of nine, when his parents bought him a 35 mm camera.

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