Joel Meyerowitz, For The Win!

In the interview with Liz, she posted a link to a Joel Meyerowitz interview that I hadn’t heard before on a podcast called “Candid Frame“.

In the interview, Meyerowitz says this:

“I’ve always been a photographer less interested in the academic and formal side of photography than for the feelingful side. I always opt for feeling. I think my pictures have in them–at the risk of sentimentality, which I try to avoid…nonetheless, I think people are suspicious of feeling and beauty. They’ve become sort of no-no’s in the modern, contemporary art world, and so if you make pictures that evoke some form of beauty, people are suspicious…and you see a lot of flat-footed, boring fucking photography out in the world today, that passes as conceptual or high-valued, art-world photography. I look at most of that stuff and I think, ‘these guys are boring, they have nothing to say, they’re walking around formulaicly making bands of modern life…industrial things or supermarkets….’ I don’t give a shit if it’s Gurksy or…any of the others who are playing that game. Most of that stuff bores the shit out of me.”

Here’s the clip:

It reminds me of that ages-old Stephen Shore interview, because both are well-respected photographers who don’t have anything to lose in calling bullshit on the trends of a self-obsessed art world (or flickr, in Shore’s case).

Sure, the world’s full of negativity, but I’m tickled whenever I see a photographer who calls it like they see it. Meyerowitz may sound bitter, but frankly, I’d rather hear his beef about how bad contemporary photography is than read another article in ART FORUM about Damien Hurst’s Skull. Go, JM!

(Thanks, James.)

10 thoughts on “Joel Meyerowitz, For The Win!”

  1. Amen to that Joel! He may be bitter that Gursky sells for millions of dollars. I mean come on…people who think they are finding the subtle truths of life in a gursky pic are full of shit. Take this quote:

    “Gursky provides viewers with a new visual vocabulary in which to comprehend the massive changes that have been brought on through globalization and commercialism,” (

    What the fuck? Say that with a straight face.

    I’ll take a Meyerowitz photo of real humans close up and personal over a gursky abstraction any day.

  2. Back again to slag off conceptual photographers more verbosely. I think what annoys me most is that they all violate the dictum of “show, don’t tell”, which is important in written work, but PARAMOUNT in a visual medium. Don’t tell me “oh, this represents this and such” — show me in the damn photo. Even Stieglitz was clear that his Equivalents were only equivalents of emotions inside his own head.

    I’m thinking especially about Uta Barth, here: “I will take a picture of a window, and then another picture of the same window from slightly to the left. This represents BLAH BLAH BLAH”.

  3. the word ‘conceptual’ placed before the word ‘photography’ ought in theory to suggest that there is a ‘concept’ in the ‘photograph’.

    what it normally means is that the photograph is a bunch of arse and the ‘photographer’ has written some wordy heap of bollocks to go with it.

    and everyone falls all over it because they’re too proud to admit that they’re not exactly sure what the ‘conceptual photographer’ is really going on about…

  4. Boring and sterile. Lots of hard work to look all the same and/or please others. There are exceptions of course. I like the conceptual stuff of Sophie Calle, it’s cheeky and fun (like following a stranger around for a few days, i.e.).

  5. That made my day. Now, when will “they” finally come to their senses. That’s what I am afraid of…..How long will we have to suffer the injustices of the bores…..

  6. The European understanding and relevance of concept is just totally different from the pragmatic American approach to the medium. Asia is once again different. It seems pretty ignorant to slam it so bluntly. Just because you don’t get it doesn’t mean it is bad (does not necessarily mean the reverse either of course).

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