Stephen Shore Biography

Stephen Shore is known for his deadpan images of banal scenes and objects in the United States, and for his pioneering use of colour in art photography.

Stephen Shore was interested in photography from an early age. Self-taught, he received a photographic darkroom kit at age six from a forward-thinking uncle. He began to use a 35mm camera three years later and made his first colour photographs. At ten he received a copy of Walker Evans' book, American Photographs, which influenced him greatly. His career began at the early age of fourteen, when he made the precocious move of presenting his photographs to Edward Steichen, then curator of photography at MoMA, New York. Recognizing Shore's talent, Steichen bought three of his works. At age seventeen, Shore met Andy Warhol and began to frequent the Factory, photographing Warhol and the creative people that surrounded him. In 1971, at the age of 24, Shore became the second living photographer to have a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Shore then embarked on a series of cross-country trips, making 'on the road' photographs of American and Canadian landscapes. In 1972, he made the journey from Manhattan to Amarillo, Texas, that provoked his interest in colour photography. Viewing the streets and towns he passed through, he conceived the idea to photograph them in colour, first using 35mm and then a 4x5" view camera before finally settling on the 8x10 format. In 1974 an NEA endowment funded further work, followed in 1975 by a Guggenheim grant and in 1976 a color show at MoMA, NY. His 1982 book, Uncommon Places was a bible for the new colour photographers because, alongside William Eggleston, his work proved that a colour photograph, like a painting or even a black and white photograph, could be considered a work of art. Many artists, including Nan Goldin, Andreas Gursky, Martin Parr, Joel Sternfeld, and Thomas Struth, have acknowledged his influence on their work.