Between 1973 and ’76, Mitch Epstein photographed in American cities—New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans, among others. In 1973 he was initially shot in black-and-white as a student of Garry Winogrand when he asked his teacher, “Why not the color?” With Winogrand’s blessing, Epstein shot his first rolls of Kodachrome. Silver + Chrome is a chronicle of his three years alternating between color and black-and-white before eventually committing to color.
This book contains Epstein’s earliest work, virtually none of which has been seen before. In these kinetic tableaux, the artist’s exuberance is barely tamed by his formal intelligence. He depicts American city life as it undergoes taboo-shattering sexual liberation, economic crises, and the repercussions of a boondoggle war in Vietnam, immersing us in the urban chaos of this complicated time.
About the Author
Mitch Epstein (born 1952, Holyoke, Massachusetts) is a photographer who helped pioneer fine-art color photography in the 1970s. His photographs are in numerous significant museum collections, including the New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art; The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Tate Modern in London.
His new series, Property Rights, was exhibited at Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York and Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, in the fall of 2019 and at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas in 2020-2021. Recent solo exhibitions include Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow (2020), Museum Helmond, Netherlands (2019), Andreas Murkudis, Berlin; Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York; Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, Paris (2016-17); as well as Foundation A Stichting in Brussels (2013); Sikkema Jenkins & Co., NY (2012); Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne (2012); Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris (2011); Kunstmuseum Bonn (2011); and Musee de l’Elysee in Lausanne (2011).
In 2013, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis commissioned and premiered a theatrical rendition of Epstein’s American Power photographic series. A collaboration between Epstein and cellist Eric Friedlander, the performance combined original live music, storytelling, video, and projected photographs and archival material.
Epstein and Friedlander also performed at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio (2014), and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2015). Epstein’s fifteen books include Property Rights (Steidl, fall 2021), In India (Steidl, fall 2021), Sunshine Hotel (Steidl/PPP Editions, fall 2019); Rocks and Clouds (Steidl 2017); New York Arbor (Steidl 2013); Berlin (Steidl/The American Academy in Berlin 2011); American Power (Steidl 2009); Mitch Epstein: Work (Steidl 2006); Recreation: American Photographs 1973-1988 (Steidl 2005); and Family Business (Steidl 2003), winner of the 2004 Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Award. In 2020, Mitch Epstein was inducted as an Academician into the National Academy of Design. In 2011, Epstein won the Prix Pictet for American Power. Among his other awards are the Berlin Prize in Arts and Letters from the American Academy in Berlin (2008), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2003).
Epstein has worked as a director, cinematographer, and production designer on several films, including Dad, Mississippi Masala, and Salaam Bombay!. He lives with his family in New York City.