The magazine of the photo-essay
July 2020 issue
American Surfaces
“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine. Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film maker
Nearly half a century after Stephen Shore shot his original American Surfaces series, his forthcoming book includes dozens of previously unpublished photographs. Shore is one of the most influential living photographers today and is heralded as a pioneer in the use of colour in art photography. In October 1972, he first exhibited a series of 174 postcard-sized photographs he shot on a road trip across America in the early 1970s, titled American Surfaces. Unframed and mounted with double-sided tape to the wall of the Light Gallery in NYC, the work initially confounded critics. These colour snapshots were a stark contrast to the carefully presented archival blackand-white prints widely recognised as art photography at the time. As Shore later described, “I wanted to take pictures that felt natural. I think everyone is familiar with the fact that they often write in a different way than they speak, and that their writing can sometimes seem more stilted, and even use a different vocabulary. And I wanted pictures that felt as natural as speaking. At random moments, whenever I thought of it, I would take what we would call today a screenshot of my field of vision.”
by Stephen Shore
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American Surfaces by Stephen Shore is published by Phaidon, £49.95 (