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Ed Ruscha on Stephen Shore’s America


Stephen Shore, Second Street and Matheson Street, Kenora, Ontario, August 15, 1974 © the artist


Stephen Shore, Fort Worth, Texas, June 2, 1976 © the artist


Stephen Shore, 2800 South Hayden Street, Amarillo, Texas, August 17, 1973 © the artist


Stephen Shore, Sixth Street, Orlando, Florida, November 7, 1977 © the artist


Stephen Shore, Room 38, Curly Redwood Lodge, Crescent City, California, September 1, 1974 © the artist


Stephen Shore, Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan, July 8, 1973 © the artist


Stephen Shore, Third Street and Hancock Street, Ithaca, New York, August 11, 1977 © the artist


Stephen Shore, Kelly’s Barber Shop, Key Largo, Florida, November 11, 1977 © the artist


Stephen Shore, Market Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, July 4, 1973 © the artist


Stephen Shore, Ginger Shore, Aspen, Colorado, June 20, 1978 © the artist

From this large collection of wide-ranging photographic subjects, no attempt was made to select images that displayed either civic America or variety, but rather ones that had a distinct voice on their own. Looking at one picture you could hear a pin drop. Another would roar with noise and yet another would hum along quite ordinary-like.

I seem to have favored scenes that were oblivious to the camera or forgot it was even there.

Ed Ruscha is an American conceptual artist. This feature is adapted from the Aperture book Stephen Shore: Selected Works, 1973–1981.

Stephen Shore: Selected Works, 1973–1981

Stephen Shore: Selected Works, 1973–1981

Stephen Shore’s Uncommon Places is indisputably a canonic body of work—a touchstone for those interested in photography and the American landscape. Remarkably, despite having been the focus of numerous shows and books, including the eponymous 1982 Aperture classic (expanded and reissued several times), this series of photographs has yet to be explored in its entirety. Over the past five years, Shore has scanned hundreds of negatives shot between 1973 and 1981. In this volume, Aperture has invited an international group of fifteen photographers, curators, authors, and cultural figures to select ten images apiece from this rarely seen cache of images. Each portfolio offers an idiosyncratic and revealing commentary on why this body of work continues to astound; how it has impacted the work of new generations of photography and the medium at large; and proposes new insight on Shore’s unique vision of America as transmuted in this totemic series.

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