The Photograph Five

Joel Meyerowitz

March 1, 2024

Joel Meyerowitz may be best known as a pioneering color photographer, but he is also a street photographer (he was given unimpeded access to Ground Zero in the wake of 9/11), a landscape photographer, and a gifted portraitist. His first book, Cape Light (1978), photographs from two summers spent on Cape Cod, MA, is an influential classic of color photography that has sold more than 150,000 copies. From April 11 to June 1, the Howard Greenberg Gallery will be showing a selection of Meyerowtiz’s work. In London, his photographs are on view at the Tate Modern in an ongoing exhibition, and the exhibition Joel Meyerowtiz: Dialogues closed March 2 at the Huxley-Parlour Gallery.

Joel Meyerowitz responded to five questions from photograph.

Édouard Boubat, Lella, Brittany, France, 1947. ©Édouard Boubat

Name a photograph that brings you joy.
The Édouard Boubat photograph of Lella. I’ve swooned over that photograph ever since I first saw it at MoMA in 1962. The tenderness, the courage, the “presence” has brought me close to the source of joy in photography.

Cover of The Americans, Robert Frank (Steidl)

Favorite photobook?
The Americans, Robert Frank: It never fails to stir and stimulate me even after nearly 70 years of looking at it.

Philip Guston, The Line, 1978. © The Estate of Philip Guston, courtesy Hauser & Wirth

Last exhibition you saw? 
The truth is I saw two on the same day at Tate Modern: one was my own, which opened in November, and the second was the mighty Philip Guston, a longtime hero of mine who always challenges the eye and the mind. (Philip Guston closed on February 25.)

Favorite work of art that’s not a photograph?
Edward Hopper’s Rooms By The Sea. Its stark purity, the force of the light, the deceptive space, the inside-outside point of view all hold a grip on my senses.

Eugène Atget, Saint-Cloud, 1924. Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

Name a photographer who has influenced you.
There are three really, each in a different way, but they combine to show me the way: Frank, Atget, Sander.

August Sander, Boxers, 1928. Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery