Masters of Photography
Joel Meyerowitz
Photographer

Joel Meyerowitz was born in the Bronx in 1938 into a neighborhood that offered daily lessons in the divine comedy and tragedies of human behavior. He believes it was that basic “street” education that nurtured his delight in human observation, a perception that is at the heart of his photography.

After studying art, art history, and medical illustration at Ohio State University, he worked as an art director in advertising in the early 60’s. In 1962, Robert Frank made photographs for a booklet Meyerowitz designed, and it was while watching Frank work that he discovered that photographs could be made while both the photographer and the subject were in motion! The power of this observation made Meyerowitz quit his job immediately, borrow a camera, and go out onto the streets of New York. He has been on the streets ever since.

Meyerowitz began by using color film, not knowing any better, nor aware that photographers of that era believed that black and white was the ‘art’ of photography. During his first days on the street, he met a young graphic designer, Tony Ray-Jones, who, like Meyerowitz, began using color as the most natural means of making photographs. Later that year Meyerowitz met, and became friends with, Garry Winogrand, and together they walked and worked Fifth Avenue daily for nearly five years.

Although Meyerowitz is a street photographer in the tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, he transformed the medium with his pioneering use of color. As an early advocate, he became instrumental in changing the attitude toward color photography from one of resistance to nearly universal acceptance. His first book Cape Light (1978) is considered a classic work of color photography and has sold over 100,000 copies.

The work of Meyerowitz, who is a Guggenheim fellow and a recipient of both the NEA and NEH awards, has appeared in over 350 exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world. He was the only photographer to gain unrestricted access to Ground Zero after 9/11, which produced a body of work that led Meyerowitz to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale for Architecture in 2002. His work is in the collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Art Institute of Chicago, and many others worldwide.

Meyerowitz lives and works in New York and in Italy.

www.joelmeyerowitz.com

RELATED ARTICLES
Vivian Maier: The Color Work
Through January 5, 2019
Deepening the understanding of Maier’s oeuvre and her keenness to record, the works capture the street life of Chicago...
+
Alfred Seiland Retrospective
Through October 7, 2018
In his documentary work, Alfred Seiland deals with cultural landscapes, developing his own independent aesthetic, always meticulously composed in...
+
Photo London 2018
May 17–20, 2018 / Somerset House
Now in its 4th edition, Photo London has established itself as a world-class event and as a catalyst for...
+
The American Document
March 21 – April 14, 2018
This exhibit presents significant works of 20th century American documentary photography charting the shift from socially engaged photography to...
+
Joel Meyerowitz. Out Of The Darkness
Mar 14, 2018 – Jan 20, 2019
This exhibition includes 98 prints by the pioneering color photographer made during his stay in Spain in the sixties:...
+
The Open Road
Jan 26 – Apr 22, 2018 / Milwaukee Art Museum
“What should happen at the end of a road trip? A return to the status quo? A revolutionary new...
+
ARTPIL / Prescription .020
The Week in Review
Thanksgiving and Black Friday came and went, without much incident. Behind us now, so it seems, we greet the...
+
Bystander: A History of Street Photography
Joel Meyerowitz and Colin Westerbeck
Hailed as a landmark work when it was first published in 1994, Bystander is widely regarded by street photographers...
+
Visionary Color / Ernst Haas
September 6 – November 9 2019
Taken between 1952 and 1981, the photographs of Ernst Haas presented on display show an ambiguity bordering on the...
+