Joel Meyerowitz

(New York, New York, 1938 - )
Lives New York City
Joel Meyerowitz pioneered the use of color film in the 1960s, a time when other street photographers preferred to work in black and white. Meyerwitz studied painting and art history at Ohio State University and found work as an art director in New York. Inspired by the work of Robert Frank, Meyerowitz quit his job in 1962 to pursue a career as a photographer. He began shooting on the streets of New York City with two cameras, one loaded with high speed black and white film, the other with color, which had a lower speed. Meyerowitz liked the way that the lower speed color film forced him to work in a more meditative fashion. He began decelerating his process even more by shooting with medium and large format cameras. In 1972 he switched permanently to large-format color photography. Meyerowitz’s first book, Cape Light, a collection of images from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, published in 1978, sold more than 100,000 copies. He is the only photographer to have captured images of ground zero shortly after the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Meyerowitz gained access to the site without the knowledge of the mayor or police authorities through a worker’s pass from the city’s parks commissioner, and later with a police badge given to him by detectives he befriended. Meyerowitz has served as a Guggenheim fellow, and received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His work is in the collections of many institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
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