Stephen Shore: Vehicular & Vernacular

Since the 1960s, mobility has been central to Stephen Shore’s practice.
In 1969, while traveling to Los Angeles with his father, he captured images from the car window. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he embarked on numerous road trips across the United States, producing his two most acclaimed series: American Surfaces and Uncommon Places. As the new millennium dawned, he revisited his method of photographing from various modes of transport: cars, trains, and planes. For his latest project, which started in 2020, he employed a drone equipped with a camera to document the evolving American landscape. For over fifty years, he has honed a style of “vehicular photography.”
The vernacular has been a constant theme in North American photography, representing the culture of the practical, the local, and the popular, which is quintessentially American. Shore’s work is imbued with numerous aesthetic and cultural themes, with the vernacular being a prominent one. Shore’s mobility allows him to offer multiple perspectives and encounters with this essence of “Americanness.” In the works chosen for this exhibition, the vehicular is indeed at the service of the vernacular.
Featuring over a hundred images taken between 1969 and 2021 across the United States, Vehicular & Vernacular is the first retrospective of Stephen Shore’s work in Paris in nineteen years. On display at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson until September 15, the exhibition presents the photographer’s celebrated series — Uncommon Places and American Surfaces — alongside lesser-known projects never before exhibited in France. A segment of the Signs of Life exhibition, in which Shore participated in 1976, is exceptionally recreated for this event. Additionally, the photographer’s latest series, captured using drones, is being shown in Europe for the first time.
The Exhibition Curator is Clément Chéroux, Director of Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson.

A portrait of Stephen Shore

About the Author

Born in New York in 1947, Stephen Shore began taking photographs at the age of nine. At fourteen, Edward Steichen acquired three of his photographs for the MoMA collections. In 1971, Shore became the first living photographer to have his work exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum. He was one of eight photographers featured in the seminal 1975 New Topographics exhibition at Rochester’s George Eastman House, which redefined the American perspective on landscape. He belongs to the generation that pioneered the recognition of color photography as an art form. Rich, diverse, and intricate, his work transforms everyday scenes into moments for reflection.


Stephen Shore: Vehicular & Vernacular
June 1 – September 15, 2024
Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson – Paris – France


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