I’ve been planning this post for about week and the core of it was about how I desperately want to see more of Meyerowitz’s early street work. Then today, The Guardian ran a selection from his show at Format which featured a few photographs I’d never seen before. I was excited and a bit disturbed by the irony but knew it wouldn’t deter me from continuing with this post because I’m determined to uncover his stash of early street work.
When I first started shooting street, I was directed to the normal big names, HCB, Winogrand, Frank, Friedlander, Doisneau, Levitt, etc. Each were big influences but when I was later directed to Meyerowitz’s work something resonated with me strongly. I only saw a few images at first, probably in Bystander but then a selection of his work was added to iN-PUBLIC and I was hooked. The photograph below literally changed how I thought about street photography.
I couldn’t figure it out at first but the longer it held my gaze the more I was transfixed by the pieces of the puzzle. The first piece my eye fixated on is the man in the center looking dead at you while holding the woman’s arm while she’s looking down the alley. It’s the type of moment that probably didn’t amount to much in real time but when frozen by the camera it reveals a tension and ambiguity that transforms it into something interesting.