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When I began making a list of ten photographers I admire,  I knew who my top handful of photographers were–and I knew that I had more than ten–but the process has led me to an interesting point–none of the photographers so far have been color photographers–and I do have a few more black and white photographers I want to add to my list–but there is a trio of color photographers I admire greatly–Stephen Shore, William Eggleston, and Richard Misrach.

Stephen Shore Beverly Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, California, June 21, 1975

Stephen Shore , Los Angeles, California, June 21, 1975

Stephen Shore is best known for work done in the first half of the 1970’s, when I was in high school, during the first Arab Oil shock, and his photographs from Uncommon Places and American Surfaces are full of gas stations, cars, motels and highways–all in lush color, full of memories.  I remember looking at Uncommon Places shortly after it was first published in the 1980’s,  when I was living in Philadelphia, with two plates from Spruce Street, at 20th and 21st streets, a place I passed frequently,  not that much different than other street corners in the city, what was so uncommon about this place?

William Eggleston

William Eggleston

I first saw William Eggleston’s work while an undergraduate in the late 1970’s, viewing a copy of William Eggleston’s Guide with a bold essay by John Szarkowski, and I have to admit that I agreed with the many vocal critics who thought the work was baffling and that Szarkowski’s judgment was  simply wrong.  Now looking at the Guide again, with the perspective of having seen hundreds more photographs by him over the past 30 years, Eggleston’s vision obviously deserves the attention brought to it.  Watching William Eggleston in the Real World made me wonder, though–how much of his success is due to his excessive drinking, and how much is due to his unlimited budget for commercial photo processing? And now that every photographer with a digital camera no longer is constrained by economics,  will his work still interest us decades from now?

Bomb, Destroyed Vehicle and Lone Rock, Bravo 20 Bombing Range, Nevada

Richard Misrach, Bomb, Destroyed Vehicle and Lone Rock, Bravo 20 Bombing Range, Nevada, 1986

Richard Misrach makes my list (the bottom of the list) mostly for his wonderful Bravo 20 work, which proposes turning an unauthorized bombing range into a national park.

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