In a career spanning 50 years, a certain amount of variety of, and evolution in, style is to be expected, but Bronx-born photographer Joel Meyerowitz has done more evolving than most. A new two-volume retrospective of his extraordinary career documents not only the artist’s changing techniques but the changing world which was and remains his cherished subject.
Meyerowitz had quite a nice job at a New York ad agency when he up and quit, taking to the streets with his camera and following a call he likens to a nagging, ringing bell. A successful street photographer in the 1960s, whose work captures scenes in a cinematic style full of energy and movement, he transitioned into ground-breaking colour work in the late ’70s, smashing through the monochrome monopoly of the time. Add in portraiture, a body of documentary work including an exhaustive record of the post 9/11 clean-up, and you have one of the most diverse and powerful collections of photography out there.
Veering between the staged and the candid, the hyper-real and the otherworldly, Meyerowitz’s work never fails to bring something new to the table, and Taking My Time – available as an epic limited edition monograph from Phaidon – is a collection that demands to be studied at length.