The Banal and the Beautiful


Stephen Shore, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California, August 13, 1979

My reputation may include a preternatural optimism paired with bright, cheery colors and forms with a touch of a pop sensibility. Like most people, some of this is warranted, but I’m contradictory. I like the ordinary and banal. The photographer, Stephen Shore, is a master at taking everyday aspects of the modern environment and making art. His images seem unstudied and spontaneous. The color is naturalistic and the settings are ordinary. The imagery is related to photo-realist painters such as Richard Estes. The composition is impeccable. Every aspect of angle, proportion, scale, and tone have been carefully managed. The content of the image tends toward those mundane moments in life. I like the subtext; the everyday, ordinary world is beautiful and remarkable. Each moment of life, beyond the dramatic and eventful, is meaningful and amazing.

Stephen Shore, 5th St and Broadway Eureka, California 1974

Stephen Shore, U.S. 97, South of Klamath Falls, Oregon, July 21, 1973

Stephen Shore, Victoria Ave. and Albert St., Regina, Sasketchewan, 1974

Richard Estes, Supreme Hardware, 1974, oil on canvas