Stephen Shore

Discovery Journeys

Stephen Shore grew up in New York, and until he was 23 most of his life took place in Manhattan. At that time, the East Coast, with its European roots, defined how he saw America. In 1972, he traveled with a friend for the first time to the Southwest, to Amarillo in Texas. This marked the beginning of a personal discovery journey – through the United States and the opportunities photography had to offer him.

Stephen Shore explored the United States when looking through his viewfinder; he focused his camera on the country and its immense diversity: anonymous suburban architecture, shopping malls, parking lots, landscapes and, time and again, intersections.

The shots document the world in which people live in small-town America, a world originally quite unknown to Shore. In fact, the places he portrays are completely everyday towns that do not set out to be more than they are and yet, seen through Stephen Shore’s camera, develop an unexpected magic of their own. Although it is always clear that the pictures have been carefully composed down to the smallest details, Shore does not impose his subjective artistic intention on the things in the viewfinder. Instead, he treats the world he sees with a form of respect based on the assumption that the extraordinary is already inherent in the everyday: it is there waiting to be discovered.

Stephen Shore called his photographs “Uncommon Places”. His anthology of pictures published in 1982 brought them together and marked a new epoch in the history of photography: Shore’s art of pictorial composition and his superb handling of color, light and shadow spurred interest in color photography and gave it an unchallengeable status as a genuine artistic medium.

Biographical information

1947

born in New York

Since 1982

Teaching position in the Photography Department of Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York

lives and works in New York