Joel Meyerowitz is an award-winning photographer whose work has appeared in over 350 exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world. He was born in New York in 1938 and began photographing in 1962. Meyerowitz is a “street photographer” in the tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, although he works exclusively in color. As an early advocate of color photography (early-60’s) he was instrumental in changing the attitude toward color photography from one of resistance to nearly universal acceptance. His first book “Cape Light” is considered a classic work of color photography and has sold over 100,000 copies during its 26-year life. He has published seventeen other books including “Bystander: The History of Street Photography” and “Provence: Lasting Impressions.”
In 1998 Meyerowitz produced and directed his first film, ”POP”, an intimate diary of a three-week road trip he made with his son Sasha and his father, Hy. This odyssey has as its central character an unpredictable, street wise and witty 87-year-old with Alzheimer’s. It is both an open-eyed look at aging and a meditation on the significance of memory.
Within a few days of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Meyerowitz began to create an archive of the destruction and recovery at Ground Zero. He was the only photographer who was granted unimpeded access to the site. Meyerowitz took a meditative stance toward the work and workers there, systematically documenting the painful work of rescue, recovery, demolition and excavation. The World Trade Center Archive includes more than 8,000 images and will be available for research, exhibition, and publication at museums in New York and Washington, DC.
In 2001 The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. State Department asked the Museum of the City of New York and Meyerowitz to create a special exhibition of images from the archive to send around the world. The images traveled to more than 200 cities in 60 countries and over three and a half million people viewed the exhibition.
In addition to the traveling shows, Meyerowitz was invited to represent the United States at the 8th Venice Biennale for Architecture with his photographs from the World Trade Center Archives. In September 2002, he exhibited 73 images – some as large as 22 feet – in lower Manhattan. This fall three new books are being published, “Taking My Time”, his fifty year, two volume, retrospective book by Phaidon Press of London, “Provence: lasting Impressions,” co-authored with his wife Maggie Barrett, and a book on the late work of Paul Strand by Aperture.
Meyerowitz is a Guggenheim fellow and a recipient of both the NEA and NEH awards. His work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, and many others.