Stephen Shore, born in 1947, is popular for his banal images in America. Since an early age, he has pioneered in color photography as a legitimate medium of artistic expression. He is an inspiration for many young artists who also aspire to become great photographers. Each photo by Shore of anonymous people and places, is packed with a multitude of details.
At the age of six, he was gifted a photographic dark room kit and then onwards his journey started. He soon began using a 35millimeter camera and produced his first color photographs. When he was ten, Shore was gifted a copy of Walker Evans’s book, titled American Photographs, and it greatly influenced him. He was only fourteen years old when he confidently presented his photos to Edward Steichen (photography curator at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) at that time) and three of Shore’s works were bought by Steichen. Three years later, Shore introduced himself to Andy Warhol (an American artist and a leading figure in visual art movement) and began taking snapshots of Warhol and people who worked at Warhol’s studio, the Factory. And then, in 1971, when Shore was 24, he became the second to display an solo exhibition of his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Having accomplished so much at such an age, Stephen Shore decided to explore, he traveled on a series of trips within America and Canada, photographing landscapes and documenting his voyage. Later, he traveled from Manhattan to Texas, in 1972, viewing the roads he passed, and due to this he developed an interest of color photography. Then in the consecutive years, he did many shows. In his book, Uncommon Places (1982), it was proved that color photography can be considered a work of art. Up until this point in history, only black and white images were taken – the book became a bible for photographers. Artists, including Andreas Gursky, Joel Sternfeld, Martin Parr, Thomas Struth and Nan Goldin have accredited Shore for influencing on their work.
Stephen Shore has also had one-man shows at the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Modern Art, New York; George Eastman House, Rochester; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Jeu de Paume, Paris; Kunsthalle, Dusseldorfan. Furthermore, he has received fellowships from National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.
In addition, Shore also conducted fashion photography for Elle, Daily Telegraph, Another Magazine and several others. Also, Italian luxury label Bottega Veneta commissioned Shore to photograph filmmaker Liz Goldwyn, socialite Lydia Hearst-Shaw and Will Chalker (model) for the brand’s 2006 collection advertisements. In 2010, Stephen Shore attained an Honorary Fellowship from The Royal Photographic Society. At present, Shore is the director of the photography department at Bard College, a position he has held since 1982. In 1991, Shore went back to black and white photography and more recently has moved on to digital imaging.
From people like Shore, it is evident that the world is something which we can conceive for ourselves. He has the ability to illustrate a commonplace into something remarkable yet maintaining its originality. It is visible through the pages of Shore’s life and career that he is a self-made man who has had the talent to turn an ‘ordinary’ subject into a ‘unique’ one.