Those who have followed the Photo Book Club from it’s early days will remember Stan Banos’ valuable contribution to our discussion of Eugene Richard’s ‘Cacaine True, Cocaine Blue’. Now, I thank Stan again for his comment on the effect Shore’s large format images had on the print galleries and collectors market:
Eggleston’s Guide along with Shore’s Uncommon Places were THE two sources most often studied, cited and emulated back in those heady days of “New Wave Color”. They were the bibles; both were a sea change on how we perceive and appreciate the medium to this present day. And while Guide launched color to the forefront of photography, Shore’s work reinforced the move to large format as the legal tender of the fine art photo world- a move which not only had far reaching effects in how we see and relate to photography in terms of composition, and in terms of size, but also in economic terms.
Photo galleries could now display art work that could rival the size of painting, and thus gain more handsome, desirable profits (I often wonder how those ’80s C-prints have survived). It helped “legitimize” photo galleries from the relative cult status of the art world’s poorer siblings, to the Upper East Side venues of the mainstream. Fine art photographers could now wield the more formidable tools of large format loaded with the new art market weaponry of color film. It was a potent combination that drove a stake through the then still beating heart of small format, B&W “art” photography- as well as through the aspirations of those who could not afford the expenses that large format entailed.
Haven’t seen ‘Uncommon Places’ yet? Take a look: