Natural Bridge, New York

Artist: Stephen Shore (American, born 1947)

Date: 1974, printed 2003

Medium: Chromogenic print

Dimensions: Image: 50.8 x 61 cm (20 x 24 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Purchase, Harriet Ames Charitable Trust Gift, 2003

Accession Number: 2003.452

Rights and Reproduction: © Stephen Shore


In the mid- to late 1970s, Shore traveled the country by car photographing the banal vernacular details of the national scene-from main streets and parking lots to office buildings and apartment complexes. Inspired by the sweeping documentary projects of Walker Evans and Robert Frank, Shore's quiet, almost subdued sensibility differed greatly from the gritty social commentaries of his predecessors; he was also working in color at a time when it was considered vulgar, beneath the realm of serious art photography. In addition to his remarkably assured palette, Shore was also well aware of recent photo-based Conceptual Art by Ed Ruscha and Dan Graham that chronicled the depopulated and commercially overrun spaces of middle America. The results-such as this harmonic convergence between a patch of grass and a beat-up Plymouth on a suburban street-were deceptively straightforward yet formally refined, and opened the door for photographers working in color, from Nan Goldin to Thomas Struth.