Fondation Cartier-Bresson
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© Stephen Shore | Second Street, Ashland, Wisconsin, July 9, 1973, de la série Uncommon Places, 1973-1986 Courtesy 303 Gallery, New York and Sprüth Magers

Since the 1960’s, mobility has been central to Stephen Shore’s practice. In 1969, while on a trip to Los Angeles with his father, he took photographs from the car window. During the 1970s and 1980s, he went on several road trips across the United States, resulting in his two most famous series: American Surfaces and Uncommon Places. As the new millennium began, he resumed photographing from different means of transportation: from car windows, trains and planes. For his most recent project, which began in 2020, he used a camera-equipped drone to photograph changes in the American landscape. For over half a century, he developed a form of “vehicular photography”.

The vernacular has been an ever-present interest in North American photography: the culture of the useful, the local and the popular, so typical of the United States. Shore’s work is permeated by multiple aesthetic and cultural issues. The vernacular is one of them. Shore’s mobility allows him to multiply perspectives and encounters with this “Americanness”. In the works selected for this exhibition, the vehicular is, in fact, placed at the service of the vernacular.

Exhibition curator
Clément Chéroux
Director, Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson


With over a hundred images shot 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 view at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson until September 15, the exhibition shows the photographer’s renowned series — Uncommon Places and American Surfaces — alongside lesser-known projects never shown in France. A fragment of the Signs of Life exhibition in which Shore participated in 1976 is exceptionally recreated for the occasion. Finally, the photographer’s most recent series, shot using drones, is exhibited for the first time in Europe.

Born in New York in 1947, Stephen Shore began photographing at the age of nine. At the age of fourteen, Edward Steichen bought him three photographs for the MoMA collections. In 1971, he became the first living photographer to have his work exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum. Shore was one of eight photographers included in the legendary 1975 New Topographics exhibition at Rochester’s George Eastman House, which redefined the American approach to landscape. He is part of the generation that led to the recognition of color photography as an art form. Rich, diverse and complex, his work transforms everyday scenes into opportunities
for meditation.

Fondation Cartier-Bresson
June 1, 2024
September 1, 2024
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