A recent show at MoMA featured the work of iconic photographer Stephen Shore. It showed the breadth of his work, but still the images I most associates with him are those taken in the 1970’s and featured in the book ‘Uncommon Places’ a kind of greatest hits collection of his work. Many document an old America that has mostly vanished with views of empty small-town streets and parking lots full of American made cars.
In these pictures, you can see the influence of on Robert Frank’s classic ‘The Americans’ a journey through 1950’s America with a forward, appropriately enough, by beat writer Jack Kerouac. In Shore’s work color has replaced the stark black and white of Frank and those images that documented social upheaval and strife in the latter’s work are missing.
Instead, Shore chooses to document those forgotten and visually unheralded blocks that feel almost like Edward Hopper paintings in their stark loneliness.