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 Post subject: Joel Meyerowitz: "Where I Find Myself"
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:14 pm 
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In reading books by late 20th and early 21st century photographers, I often find references to Joel Meyerowitz as having been an influence, either as a direct teacher or mentor, or through Meyerowitz's published or exhibited work. Similarly, I occasionally heard complimentary references to his work in conversations with friends and acquaintances in the photography world. I already had a book of his photographs, ("Retrospective"), so I had some familiarity with his work and liked what I had seen of it. I was interested, then, when I read about a new, more comprehensive retrospective of Meyerowitz's work, covering his entire working period thus far (1962 - 2017), and with accompanying text by the photographer.
Where I Find Myself is a massive book, 252 pages, 9 x 12 3/4 inches and weighing 5 1/2 pounds. Meyerowitz's work has been organized into 10 chapters, in the unusual format of reverse chronological order. Rather than seeing how Meyerowitz's vision and technique evolved, the reader works their way from his present state, through varied projects and approaches with a variety of formats, to his initial forays into 35mm photography.
Meyerowitz has been in the front lines of several major movements in photography. Early in his career (pardon my starting with the end of this book; spoiler alert!), he spent several years photographing on the streets of New York with Garry Winogrand. His handling of subjects in color challenged the then-accepted wisdom that the abstraction of black & white was the essence of photographic art, that color was "too commercial." The chapter on this theme is enormously instructive: it provides - side by side - similar images, one in black & white, the other in color. The viewer is not only able to compare the visual impacts of the different media, they are also treated to the subtle changes in framing the images. They are similar, but not identical, and Meyerowitz invites the viewer to think about whether and how these changes relate to the choice of media.
Meyerowitz is an excellent writer, and his textual accompaniments to his photographs are candid, thought-provoking, and often beautiful. Where I Find Myself is a very fine book, and has a place of honor in my library. It is published by Laurence King Publishing, Ltd. (London, 2018), in collaboration with Elephant Magazine.

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