A new exhibition of work by Joel Meyerowitz, including rarely seen black and white photographs from his early career, will open at Beetles+Huxley in London on 23 May 2017. Joel Meyerowitz: Towards Colour 1962 - 1978 will highlight the photographer’s seminal street photography – tracing his gradual move from using both black and white and colour film, to focusing entirely on colour photography, over the course of two decades.
The subject of over 350 exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide and two-time Guggenheim Fellow, Meyerowitz is one of the most highly-regarded photographers of the second half of the twentieth century. Alongside his contemporaries, William Eggleston and Stephen Shore, Meyerowitz drove the positioning of colour photography from the margins to the mainstream.
The exhibition will feature bodies of work made by Meyerowitz between 1963 and 1978, from his very early days shooting in black and white on the streets of New York alongside Garry Winogrand and Tony Ray-Jones, to the year he published his first book, Cape Light.
This period was vital for Meyerowitz as he began to question the medium of photography itself, engaging in an aesthetic exploration or both form and composition. He moved away from what he describes as the ‘caught moment’ toward a more non-hierarchical image in which everything in the image, including the colour, plays an equal, vital role. These intricately structured images, which Meyerowitz calls 'field photographs', marked a shift in the history of photography.
The exhibition will include works made in Florida and New Mexico as well as iconic street scenes captured in New York. The exhibition will also include a selection of photographs taken during Meyerowitz’ travels across Europe in 1966, including images of France, Spain and Greece.
Born in 1938 in New York City, Meyerowitz studied paining and medical drawing at Ohio State University before working as an art director at an advertising agency. Having seen Robert Frank at work, Meyerowitz was inspired and left advertising in 1962 to pursue photography. By 1968, a solo exhibition of his photographs was mounted at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Meyerowitz has been the recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities awards, and has published over sixteen books.
Joel Meyerowitz: Towards Colour 1962-1978 will launch 23 May and run until 24 June 2017 at Beetles+Huxley, 3-5 Swallow Street, London. More info at beetlesandhuxley.com.
Main image: New York City, 1973 © Joel Meyerowitz