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This post continues from Reflection #2 at: https://cormac513273.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/reflection-2-photographing-the-unseen/

In the previous post (above) the visual strategy for this Assignment was broken down broadly to two: New Objectivity (‘Otto Steinert’) and ‘blur and grain’ (‘William Klein; Daido Moriyama’). However, images from Stephen Shore’s ‘Uncommon Places’ (Shore, 2004) are also of interest with regard to the aims of the Assignment (see ‘Summary’ above).

‘Uncommon Places’ is an anthology of Shore’s photographs from the 1970s and early 1980s. The style of images such as ‘West Fifteenth Street and Vine street, Cincinnati, Ohio, May 15, 1974’  (Shore, 2004:43), (see fig. 1.), ‘El Paso Street, El Paso, Texas, July 5, 1975’ (Shore, 2004:111) (see fig. 2.), ‘Beverly Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, California, June 21, 1975’ (Shore, 2004:115) (see fig. 3), is relevant to this Assignment. Shore’s images are highly composed, for example he says of his photograph  ‘Beverly Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, California, June 21, 1975’ (see fig. 3.):

So I was looking at not just the relationships of the chevrons to the traffic light, and the street signs to the advertising but how far into the space of the picture I could go. And as I did it I recognized that in solving this picture I was imposing a very classical kind of structure on it. Structurally it is very similar to Claude Lorrain – a very traditional classical organisation of space where he would perhaps have on the right a classical pediment where I have the Standard station. On the left where I have a telegraph pole he might have a tree. And then there’s the one point perspective. So it bothered me that in my attempt to organize and hold everything together I was imposing a 17th century idea of spatial organization onto a 20th century scene (Phaidon, s.d).

Shore’s photographs obviously lack the kinetic element of the ‘blur and grain’ style (above); also he emphasises the series of images whereby ‘each individual photo loses its aura and content, becoming an indexical element that makes sense only in relation to its neighbour’ (Schmidt-Wulffen, 2004: 7-15).

For the current Assignment a series of ‘cool’ images (i.e. lacking the kinetic dynamism of ‘blur and grain’) showing the typography of the city could be as effective as the dynamic imagery of ‘blur and grain’ or the abstract introspection of New Objectivity.


Phaidon (s.d) How a 17th century painting inspired a 70s LA photo [online] At: http://de.phaidon.com/agenda/photography/articles/2014/september/24/how-a-17th-century-painting-inspired-a-70s-la-photo/ (Accessed on 04.11.14)

Schmidt-Wulffen, Stephen (2004) ‘Stephen Shore’s Uncommon Places’ In: Uncommon Places. The Complete Works. London: Thames & Hudson pp. 7-15

Shore, Stephen (2004) Uncommon Places. The Complete Works. London: Thames & Hudson

List of Illustrations

Figure 1. Shore, Stephen (1974) West Fifteenth Street and Vine Street, Cincinnati, Ohio, May 15, 1974 At: http://www.galerierodolphejanssen.com/system/assets/Artist/1104/original/ssho025.jpg (Accessed 04.11.14)

Figure 2. Shore, Stephen (1975) El Paso Street, El Paso, Texas, July 5, 1975 At: http://stephenshore.net/photographs/D/1.jpg (Accessed 04.11.14)

Figure 3. Shore, Stephen (1975) Beverly Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, California, June 21, 1975 At: http://www.lapispress.com/5300_images/stephen-shore-06-21-75_1_beverlyblvd-labreaave_losangeles-ca.jpg (Accessed 04.11.14)