Life Path Of Joel Meyerowitz Essay

Bio Data

Joel was born in New York City in the year of 1938 and no data available insists that he has died. Although, it was not until 1962 that he would begin photographing, he made every year count. Being that he was born in 1938, Joel was able to view numerous historical events both good and bad. Many of which acted as inspiration for his artwork. One specific case of this would be the tragic events of 9/11. Although, tragedy had struck him hometown, he created something hopeful and beautiful out of the situation. According to Howard Green Gallery (2018): “Meyerowitz was the only photographer to be given unimpeded access to Ground Zero in the wake of 9/11. The images he captured have formed the foundation of a major national archive, and an exhibition of selected images has travelled to more than 200 cities in 60 countries” (Howard Green Gallery, page 1, para. 3). As we can see from this quote, he was very must respected and recognized in the photography world, being that he was the only artist enabled to do so after such events. He also lived through the changes made in America. Modern days are simply opposites then the days that Joel was born. For instance, same sex marriages, medical marijuana, and other radical changes made here. And even more so in New York City. I feel that Joel was able to capture unique and redefined art for many of these radical changes. Especially being in such a large city, he was able to photography interesting pieces that many individuals could relate to. Joel has friendships with two individuals throughout numerous years that had helped him and remained helpful even to this day. His support system included Garry Winogrand and Tony Ray-Jones (Walker, page 1, para. 13).

Technical Data

There are three specific cameras that Joel chose to work with throughout his career. These include: Leica M, Leica s2, 8×10 Deardorff. As Joel entered photography, he chose the Leica M to lead the way. He also credited this camera for teaching him all that he knows. Which includes his artistic capabilities as well as his heightened understanding of human nature as well. This is true because his photography is completely immersed in capturing humans in natural environments, a truly impeccable art. In general Joel chose to shoot this camera in wide angle (28-35) mm, however, he did switch the focus point from time to time as well. After his career had developed more, his desires began to change. That is, Joel wanted a larger format for his art, which is when he decided to change cameras and switch to a vintage 1920’s 8 X 10 Deardorff which had a 10” or 12” Commercial Ektar lens. However, when he did decide to go digital, he had to switch cameras again. For these photos, Joel decided to utilize a Leica S2, that was somewhat similar to his first camera that had taught him all he knew (Walker, page 1, para. 10-11).

Joel aimed to produce the best work in all of his photographs, so he understood that he would have to utilize different cameras to do so, which explains why he switched to three predominant ones. He also understood that some works were best viewed close, while others worked better at a farther distance. As Joel claimed above, his first camera sort of taught him these ideas, and from there, his career really branched off. Another important implication of his work was the use of color. However, in some areas, he felt that black and white was more relevant to his pieces. Joel claimed that depending on where he was would determine the focus point, color, and camera that would be used (Howard Green Gallery, page 1, para.2). This effected his art in a positive way, and in such a way that more audiences could enjoy and relate to his pieces.

Art Data

In some ways, the artist moved with and against tradition work in this field. Not many artists were doing what Joel did. That is, taking random photography and all. Not all of his pictures really had background information of purpose to them. He just enjoyed human nature, which was unique at the time. Other artists who did take street photography, generally only captured major events or news showcasing, however, Joel took what he was passionate about and many of which were simplistic in nature. Although he had worked in the same tradition of other artists, such as Herni Cartier- Bresson and Robert Frank, he redefined this field by his unique use of color. Joel was an early advocate and became very instrumental in the new view of color photography. That is, he took resistance and made it almost universally acceptable (Barrett, page 1, para.4).

The Work

Joel Meyerowitz is most recognized for his color photography; however, he also is the author of numerous books on the subject as well. Most often, he copies thousands of the photos he takes and enlarges them as well. These photos, however, are never cropped or messed with, Joel enables the flaws to shine through because it is more humanly that way. His subjects vary from day to day. His passion determines what he feels like working with each day, therefore, little consistency concludes for this artist. One day we will be walking down the street and notice a person/ person he wants to capture, and so he will. However, he not only captures people, but business’s and buildings as well. It just sort of depends on what mood he has or what he notices to be beautiful and significant on any given day. Joel Meyerowitz is a street photographer who enjoys human nature and aims to capture such ideas through his lens. He is very admirable, and his work is impeccable.

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