Mitch Epstein and More

One of the many highlights of the “Where We Live” exhibit in the new photography wing at the Getty (or photography basement, really) are all of the Mitch Epstein prints. They’re taken from “Family Business“, a project Epstein shot in Holyoke, Massachusets, covering a lawsuit against his family’s business, and the decline of his family’s furniture store. (Perhaps I like Epstein’s work so much because I used to go to Mountain Park in the 70s, too.)

And then yesterday, I came across this spectacular Epstein print at the High Museum in Atlanta.

Mitch Epstein, “Madison Avenue, NYC, 1973”

I don’t know why I hadn’t paid attention to Epstein’s work before. If (like me) you’re interested in how someone can take great street pictures in addition to working on long-term projects that aren’t “street” per se, take a look.

Many of the pictures in “American Recreation” look like pictures taken by someone who cut their teeth taking street pictures. Same with Larry Fink’s “Social Graces”.

But what does that mean, really? Just because a photographer has the capability to put together solid compositions when everything’s in flux, and can do so in a way that captures a particular moment that otherwise would have been unrecognized, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a street photographer.

Which is a long way of saying that this whole concept of street photography feels like a pretty rigid box. In fact, perhaps that’s what’s next for this blog, to step out of that box, look back at it, kick its sides a bit, and figure out how a particular “street” way of seeing can be extended into whatever you’re looking to photograph.

I’ve started down this road a bit (in practice, and in words) but it seems worth stating up front.

2 thoughts on “Mitch Epstein and More”

  1. It seems that the kind of “street” photography of which you speak necessarily has people in it- whether or not it was taken on or near a street.
    \What about photographs taken on or near a street- without people ?

  2. Was able to take in ‘Where we live’ this weekend myself and felt the same way about the Epstein photographs. I wasn’t too familiar with him before the exhibit but now I want check out more of his stuff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *