Stephen Shore's photographs are attentive to ordinary scenes of daily experience, yet through color--and composition--Shore transforms the mundane into subjects of thoughtful meditation. A restaurant meal on a road trip, a billboard off a highway, and a dusty side street in a Texas town are all seemingly banal images, but upon reflection subtly imply meaning.
Although Shore has taught photography (he has been director of photography at Bard College since 1982) he became well known at an early age as a pioneer of color art photography. He is among the earliest fine art photographers to work almost exclusively in color. Shore became interested in photography as a child: Between the ages of six and ten he taught himself how to expose and print photographs. Walker Evans's book, American Photographs, made a big impression. At fourteen, the precocious teenager telephoned Edward Steichen, the photography curator of the Museum of Modern Art. They arranged a meeting, and Steichen purchased three of Shore's photographs for the museum's permanent collection. And at sixteen he met Andy Warhol and frequented the artist's studio, photographing the illustrious scene at the "Factory." In 1972 Shore embarked on a series of cross-country trips and made "on the road" color photographs of American landscapes.
Color photography attracted Shore for its ability to record the range and intensity of hues seen in life. In 1971, at age twenty-three, he became the first living photographer to have a one-person show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. His 1982 book, Uncommon Places became a bible for young photographers seeking to work in color, because, along with that of William Eggleston, his work exemplified the fact that the medium could be considered art.