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Stephen Shore: Uncommon Places: The Complete Works Hardcover – June 15, 2005

36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A teenaged photographic aspirant who hung around at Andy Warhol’s factory in its mid-60s heyday, Shore found success early: his first show at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art was held when he was only 23. These 152 full-page, full-color shots comprise his serial project of the 70s, "Uncommon Places," which documented roadside America with a dispassionate, Andy-like emptiness. It’s an aesthetic that has been endlessly co-opted by American filmmakers like Gus Van Sant and Jim Jarmusch, but some of these 12 7/8" × 10 5/16" shots of prairies, parking lots, polyester-clad couples and plastic hotel furnishings manage to seem fresh nonetheless. Shore’s concluding interview with Lynn Tillman makes the Warhol connection explicit, and argues for a kind of meaning-making from the void: "Formalism often sounds like a kind of visual nicety, but if I use it, that’s not how I mean it." Beautiful, lush reproductions with minimal captions allow the photos to speak for themselves.
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"What is remarkable about the new and expanded Uncommon Places is how fresh and fine and undated these 1970s photographs appear in 2004." -- Edgar Allen Beem --Photo District News

"If Walker Evans and Robert Frank established an 'on the road' tradition in photography, then Stephen Shore ranks among their natural heirs... [but] Mr. Shore's work is not quite so sober as Evans's. There is an antic undercurrent to his straight-faced pictures, as if, after staring at the sheer actuality of what was laid out before him, he might have burst out laughing before making the picture. Think of Walker Evans -- stoned." -- Philip Gefter --The New York Times

"...the photographs in 'Uncommon Places' stir nostalgia for a tidier, less crowded, less sinister America, spiritually bleak, but minus the open sores of economic inequity apparent today." -- Kenneth Baker -- The San Francisco Chronicle

"Stephen Shore was one of the two photographers in the 1970s--the other was William Eggleston--who determined the course of contemporary color photography... The subject of the book is, in essence, the American vernacular seen in color, and after all these years little of the brilliance of Shore's vision has dimmed. The pictures are as radical as Eggleston's and still are essential viewing for anyone interested in the medium." -- Alan G. Artner -- The Chicago Tribune

"Uncommon Places: The Complete Works offers the viewer a unique opportunity to share Shore's revelry in the 'delight of seeing', and to travel with him as he refines his photography dexterity, transforming his acute observations into fine art." -- Aaron Schuman -- Modern Painters

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Aperture; Revised edition (June 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931788340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931788342
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 13.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #546,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Robin on June 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
On page six of this large book, Stephen Shore writes, in the Artist's Note, "The book you are holding in your hands amounts to what might be called the photographic equivalent of a director's cut". It is in the nature of such things you now get an additional ninety-four photos with the forty-nine that were in the original 1982 Aperture edition, though this is not strictly true because some that were in the original are not in this edition.

I bought the original book because I loved the way Shore captured the everyday urban American outdoors and of course the amazing color and detail. This new edition is even better because the photos are now larger, mostly 10.5 by 8.25 inches. The other thing I love about some of these photos is the way Shore captures the street corner, this seems to be a favorite composition (stretching back to the famous FSA photos of the Thirties) with contemporary photographers and Photorealists painters like Richard Estes or Davis Cone. Shore's 'El Paso Street, Texas, July 5, 1975' could just as easily be an Estes painting. There are several corner photos in the book and they are just stunning.

Another reviewer has commented on the amount of detail in these photos, helped of course by the two hundred plus screen, the original book used a 175 dpi. Apart from the screen it is interesting to compare images that appear in both books and the color does vary. 'Beverly Boulevard, June 21 1975' in the original (page 39) is predominately brown for the street area, in this edition (page 115) it has changed to a predominately blue cast. I wonder if this is the sort of thing that concerns collectors of first edition photo books?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Emily on February 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Shore grew up in downtown New York. One day, he and a friend decided to drive to Amarillo, Texas and get out of the big city for a spell. Uncommon Places is a result of that trip. Although I'm not a huge fan of landscape photography, I enjoyed viewing what Shore thought was "uncommon" (the name of his book), as I grew up in rural and smalltown America and found many of the photos "commonplace." That is no disrespect to the artist, however. I find him incredibly compelling as an artist and a person.
What I find intriguing is that Shore reconnects one with those images from their past and also invites the viewer to see their smalltown landscape from a new, invigorating lens. The photos of small towns, diners, beaches, and movie theatres brought me to a place where I wondered "What is Common?" "What is Uncommon?" To Stephen, that would be my reality. He would find me and my reality, uncommon. Wow. Never considered that before. I, no doubt, would find his the same.
Shore is famous for winning critical acclaim when he was twenty-three, photographing Andy Warhol's Factory, the temple of underground art in the sixties.
Uncommon Places is a selection of forty-nine photographs taken between 1973 and 1981.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By jack kerr on April 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
this is one of the first great works of color photography, and is still as fresh and significant as it was 30 years ago. forget all the imitators of today's contemporary scene, this was one of the first and is still better than anything to come along since (with the exception of sternfeld's american prospects which is equally great).

and for those who say this is snapshot photography, think again. view camera, deliberation, and intent here are razor sharp and NOT filled with accidents or casual images.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael Haspert on September 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
(So, this is me coming up to speed on Stephen Shore.)

At first I didn't get it. Page after page of what seemed snapshots except for the high level of detail. I was ready to dismiss it as a mystery-- "The Case of the Missing Point", to be precise.

HOWEVER, some of the shots brought me to a stop-- evocative far beyond the apparent ordinariness of the image. This made me suspect that I had missed something in the images I had dismissed. I didn't learn until the interview at the end of the book what he had been trying to do, or that he was using a view camera to do it. All these shots were 'deliberately trying to look casual', but were also very deliberately composed, with some kind of hook, usually in the detail. Aha. My second time through the book was much more enjoyable.

So if you are studying photography, this book is like a textbook in at least one way: It has some of the answers in the back-- Read the interview first.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Doctor C on January 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I should mention that I am not one to dwell on the past and especially film photography. I love digital photography and especially color photography as I feel black and white often makes it too easy to take photographs by avoiding an entire world of color. All of the pictures of this book were taken before my time so I don't have any personal attachment. I later found how important this series was in legitimizing color but even without that knowledge, when I saw the pictures in this book, it was as if they were taken with a modern phase one medium format camera taken by an expert photographer.

The pictures are big, bold, colorful but not overdone, well composed, and sharp. For the instagram generation it's tempting to merely think they are snapshots, but they are not. They are brilliant both technically and in composition. Even by today's standards of nanocoated lenses and 36 megapixel D800 cameras, the quality of these pictures are second to none. I later found that these were taken by a large format camera which means what looks like snapshots were taken by a big heavy camera on tripods. The pictures are so sharp and realistic that it instantly engulfs the viewer and makes you think you're in El Paso in 1974.

Highly recommended for photographers of today.
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