Author Archives: joelmeyerowitz2014

About joelmeyerowitz2014

STUDIO BIO: Joel Meyerowitz is an award-winning photographer whose work has appeared in over 350 exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world. He was born in New York in 1938 and began photographing in 1962. Meyerowitz is a “street photographer” in the tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, although he works exclusively in color. As an early advocate of color photography (early-60’s) he was instrumental in changing the attitude toward color photography from one of resistance to nearly universal acceptance. His first book “Cape Light” is considered a classic work of color photography and has sold over 100,000 copies during its 26-year life. He has published nineteen other books including “Bystander: The History of Street Photography” and “Provence: Lasting Impressions.” In 1998 Meyerowitz produced and directed his first film, ”POP”, an intimate diary of a three-week road trip he made with his son Sasha and his father, Hy. This odyssey has as its central character an unpredictable, street wise and witty 87-year-old with Alzheimer’s. It is both an open-eyed look at aging and a meditation on the significance of memory. Within a few days of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Meyerowitz began to create an archive of the destruction and recovery at Ground Zero. He was the only photographer who was granted unimpeded access to the site. Meyerowitz took a meditative stance toward the work and workers there, systematically documenting the painful work of rescue, recovery, demolition and excavation. The World Trade Center Archive includes more than 8,000 images and will be available for research, exhibition, and publication at museums in New York and Washington, DC. In 2001 The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. State Department asked the Museum of the City of New York and Meyerowitz to create a special exhibition of images from the archive to send around the world. The images traveled to more than 200 cities in 60 countries and over three and a half million people viewed the exhibition. In addition to the traveling shows, Meyerowitz was invited to represent the United States at the 8th Venice Biennale for Architecture with his photographs from the World Trade Center Archives. In September 2002, he exhibited 73 images – some as large as 22 feet – in lower Manhattan. Some recent books are: “Taking My Time”, his fifty year, two volume, retrospective book by Phaidon Press of London, “Provence: lasting Impressions,” co-authored with his wife Maggie Barrett, a book on the late work of Paul Strand by Aperture, "Glimpse": Photographs From Moving Car, which was a solo show at MoMA, and "Joel Meyerowitz Retrospective", published in conjunction with his recent show at NRW Forum in Dusseldorf. Meyerowitz is a Guggenheim fellow and a recipient of both the NEA and NEH awards. His work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, and many others.

POLKA Galerie exhibition

I’ll be in Paris this week if anyone is nearby. Part 2 of Taking My Time, a mini retrospective of sorts, will open the evening of January 12, and I’ll be there to say hello.




A Fresh Start


All the celebrations are now over and reality makes its way back wherever we look, and looking is what we always return to to ground ourselves. Looking at our daily life, our family (just as crazy as everyone else) our politics, and politicians (what a ride we’re in for) our work, our street, or city, everything that’s right there in front of us. All of it fresh once again for thought and eye.

2017 has just begun. Make the most of what you have, and whatever it is that comes your way.


Where Have I Been?

Dear friends,

During the last six months of silence I’ve missed the daily contact with all of you, and the ‘stretch’ it required of myself and my thoughts about life and photography.

But, in a way, last year’s blog was preparation for the book I wanted to write for children about “seeing things”, both in photographs and in the world around them.

That book, published by Aperture; is called “Seeing Things,” and is just now being delivered to bookstores everywhere. I wanted you to know about it first. You might want to see how writing for you prepared me for finding a voice that was adjusted to the range of kid’s interests, but did not talk down to them.

You can see it here:

Seeing Things

DECEMBER 31, 2015

Once More Around The Sun

We have done it again! Another trip around the solar system on this wondrous planet of ours. And it was a year – speaking for myself, or course – full of momentary wonders, large and small, cheerful and sad, sunlit and shadowed, and basically filled with every kind of contrasting possibility, which is what life seems to offer us every single day.

I spent the morning here reviewing every photograph in the blog and was surprised at both the range and diversity of the images, and I could also see how many themes and sub themes there were, and how regularly they came into play. The truth is I have my limits, and even though I am trying to reach beyond what I know how to see, I still can’t get away from myself completely, not that I thought I could, or would even want to be completely other, but this year-long experiment was meant to shake the joints of this old mindset loose through the ordinary practice of daily seeing and responding.

To that end I feel gratified that even though I was stretching things thin a bit by working that way there are still enough high points along the line that I can go back in now and see what stands out for me. If I were to find say, 50 to 75 images out of 365, that held together, or pointed me in a new way, that would be worth the effort. Although the effort itself was what was truly worth the effort.

And then there is the patience and support that all of you so generously offered me. Your feedback, and your willingness to climb aboard and play this out with me is an unforgettable part of this year’s journey. It was somewhat like having a virtual crew on board our spaceship as we journeyed around the sun together. Your company made it special.

My hope is that by sharing this adventure in seeing with you, and trying to write about it, that something of the special nature of photographic language will have been opened up for all to use as each of you can. Not that I have anything so special to add to the discourse, but because I believe that images offer up speculation after the fact, and that speculative stimulus sends us deeper into the mysteries of the medium, and once we are inside we can begin to find our own way forward. I like that; the invitation into the mystery. Because isn’t that what life is?

This is the last post of 2015. I will not be making daily posts from this point on, there is just too much I want to do, and the time seems to be getting shorter in these later years, and so I want to make the most of what I have, especially now that I have some freedom thanks to the sale of my archive. But I will continue to post my thoughts and/or questions whenever something comes up that seems worthy of sharing with you, or mulling over in public. So, stay tuned.

I will miss the dialogue that I have had with some of you, but the blog remains ‘live,’ and it’s there for whoever wants to make something out of it, or reconsider some of the issues touched upon in the course of our journey. use it as you wish.

I salute you all and wish you the spaciousness of another year.


12-31 Last day L1003792


DECEMBER 30, 2015

Bare Bones

When it comes right down to it we can only work with what we connect with on any given day. It depends on where we were, what our appetite for seeing was, what the coincidences of the day threw across our path, or finally, what we were alive to at any one moment.

I drove to the local health food store to get a few things for the upcoming New Year’s Eve dinner we were making to celebrate the end of 2013. I had spent a good part of the day inside preparing and doing other year end tasks, and so went to the bio, as they call it in France, late in the day, and as I pulled into the parking slot I saw this gnarly, furry, wild haired, winter naked bush, brittle in the last tincture of rosy light, sitting on a brutal pile of rocks behind a scrabbly chicken wire fence. All in all a tough image, one that might seldom hold my attention, and yet…

As I sat there for a moment thoughts of Dubuffet and Art Brut came to mind, and Philip Guston too, one of my favorite painters who never flinched at hard, ugly realities, and found ways to address them in his paintings, ways that challenged the values of the art world at that time. And so the longer I stayed in that moment’s reverie with this scrawny, bristling and blighted image, the more I realized that it was the most exciting thing I had see all day, and in fact was beautiful in its own demanding and difficult way.

I welcomed it.

12-30 Tree rocks L1003773

DECEMBER 29, 2015

Amazing Grace

It has always amazed me to see how ruthlessly orchard growers purge their fields once the trees have stopped producing as they had in previous years. Even when the trees seem fairly young as these do. But this kind of husbandry is wise and farsighted. They know what the land can do, and what changes it needs to continue to be fruitful.

In their practice I can see my own pruning methods as I have edited my work over the years. I used to call it the ‘sticky finger’ approach. That is; whenever I paged through stacks of prints (back in the 60’s and 70’s and 80’s I printed like crazy – thus my 50,000 prints that I recently went to New York to sign for the sale of the archive) and so while reviewing prints, whenever I came across a photograph which, for whatever reason, refused to go quietly into the ‘Out’ pile, although sometimes it did so on a first cut, but then, somehow, it worked its way back into the mix of the ‘In’ pile, because each time I saw it, it ‘stuck to my fingers,’ as if it was telling me, wait a minute, you don’t get me yet, there is something here beyond your understanding at this time. 

So I held on to those quirky images until either I caught up to what they were saying, or, by pinning them to the wall over my desk so as to catch my roving eye while speaking on the phone, or while daydreaming, I finally got their message.

Whatever the case, hard cutting is necessary for future growth, be it an orchard or a body of work.

12-29 Field L1003767