Shifting focus - the Decade interview: Stephen Shore

How an encounter in the past shaped the American photographer's attitude to the future
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Stephen Shore photographed by Guido Guidi

1 / 25 Stephen Shore photographed by Guido Guidi

Stephen Shore, Tarrytown (1959) and New York City (1960), New York, USA

2 / 25 Stephen Shore, Tarrytown (1959) and New York City (1960), New York, USA

Stephen Shore, Chuck, Andy, Edie (1965-67)

3 / 25 Stephen Shore, Chuck, Andy, Edie (1965-67)

Stephen Shore, July 22-23 (1969)

4 / 25 Stephen Shore, July 22-23 (1969)

Stephen Shore, Girl, Suitcase and La Ilusion (1971)

5 / 25 Stephen Shore, Girl, Suitcase and La Ilusion (1971)

Stephen Shore, Macon (June 1972), Georgia and Durango (June 1972), Colorado, USA

6 / 25 Stephen Shore, Macon (June 1972), Georgia and Durango (June 1972), Colorado, USA

Stephen Shore, Oklahoma City (July 1972), Oklahoma, USA

7 / 25 Stephen Shore, Oklahoma City (July 1972), Oklahoma, USA

Stephen Shore, Oklahoma City (July 1972), Oklahoma, USA

8 / 25 Stephen Shore, Oklahoma City (July 1972), Oklahoma, USA

Stephen Shore, New York City (September 1972), New York, USA

9 / 25 Stephen Shore, New York City (September 1972), New York, USA

Stephen Shore, Tall in Texas (1972), Amarillo, USA

10 / 25 Stephen Shore, Tall in Texas (1972), Amarillo, USA

Stephen Shore, New York City (April 1973), New York, USA

11 / 25 Stephen Shore, New York City (April 1973), New York, USA

Stephen Shore, Travel Journal (1973)

12 / 25 Stephen Shore, Travel Journal (1973)

Stephen Shore, Sugar Bowl Restaurant (7 July, 1973), Gaylord, Michigan, USA

13 / 25 Stephen Shore, Sugar Bowl Restaurant (7 July, 1973), Gaylord, Michigan, USA

Stephen Shore, Horseshoe Bend Motel (16 July, 1973), Lovell, Wyoming, USA

14 / 25 Stephen Shore, Horseshoe Bend Motel (16 July, 1973), Lovell, Wyoming, USA

Stephen Shore, U.S. 97 (21 July, 1973), South of Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA

15 / 25 Stephen Shore, U.S. 97 (21 July, 1973), South of Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA

Stephen Shore, Twenty-First and Spruce Street (21 June, 1974), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

16 / 25 Stephen Shore, Twenty-First and Spruce Street (21 June, 1974), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Stephen Shore, Stanley Marsh & John Reinhardt (15 February 1975), Amarillo, Texas, USA

17 / 25 Stephen Shore, Stanley Marsh & John Reinhardt (15 February 1975), Amarillo, Texas, USA

Stephen Shore, Chas Kincaid Grocery Store (16 June, 1976), Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, Texas, USA

18 / 25 Stephen Shore, Chas Kincaid Grocery Store (16 June, 1976), Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Stephen Shore, Golden Nugget (27 June, 1978), Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

19 / 25 Stephen Shore, Golden Nugget (27 June, 1978), Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Stephen Shore, Merced River, Yosemite National Park (13 August 1979), California, USA

20 / 25 Stephen Shore, Merced River, Yosemite National Park (13 August 1979), California, USA

Stephen Shore, County of Sutherland (1988), Scotland

21 / 25 Stephen Shore, County of Sutherland (1988), Scotland

Stephen Shore, Essex County (1992/1993), Massachusetts, USA

22 / 25 Stephen Shore, Essex County (1992/1993), Massachusetts, USA

Stephen Shore, Luzzara (1993), Italy

23 / 25 Stephen Shore, Luzzara (1993), Italy

Stephen Shore, Ashkelon (1994) and Hatzor (1994) Israel

24 / 25 Stephen Shore, Ashkelon (1994) and Hatzor (1994) Israel

Stephen Shore, New York City (2000-2002), USA

25 / 25 Stephen Shore, New York City (2000-2002), USA

Stephen Shore photographed by Guido Guidi

1 / 25 Stephen Shore photographed by Guido Guidi

Stephen Shore, Tarrytown (1959) and New York City (1960), New York, USA

2 / 25 Stephen Shore, Tarrytown (1959) and New York City (1960), New York, USA

Stephen Shore, Chuck, Andy, Edie (1965-67)

3 / 25 Stephen Shore, Chuck, Andy, Edie (1965-67)

Stephen Shore, July 22-23 (1969)

4 / 25 Stephen Shore, July 22-23 (1969)

Stephen Shore, Girl, Suitcase and La Ilusion (1971)

5 / 25 Stephen Shore, Girl, Suitcase and La Ilusion (1971)

Stephen Shore, Macon (June 1972), Georgia and Durango (June 1972), Colorado, USA

6 / 25 Stephen Shore, Macon (June 1972), Georgia and Durango (June 1972), Colorado, USA

Stephen Shore, Oklahoma City (July 1972), Oklahoma, USA

7 / 25 Stephen Shore, Oklahoma City (July 1972), Oklahoma, USA

Stephen Shore, Oklahoma City (July 1972), Oklahoma, USA

8 / 25 Stephen Shore, Oklahoma City (July 1972), Oklahoma, USA

Stephen Shore, New York City (September 1972), New York, USA

9 / 25 Stephen Shore, New York City (September 1972), New York, USA

Stephen Shore, Tall in Texas (1972), Amarillo, USA

10 / 25 Stephen Shore, Tall in Texas (1972), Amarillo, USA

Stephen Shore, New York City (April 1973), New York, USA

11 / 25 Stephen Shore, New York City (April 1973), New York, USA

Stephen Shore, Travel Journal (1973)

12 / 25 Stephen Shore, Travel Journal (1973)

Stephen Shore, Sugar Bowl Restaurant (7 July, 1973), Gaylord, Michigan, USA

13 / 25 Stephen Shore, Sugar Bowl Restaurant (7 July, 1973), Gaylord, Michigan, USA

Stephen Shore, Horseshoe Bend Motel (16 July, 1973), Lovell, Wyoming, USA

14 / 25 Stephen Shore, Horseshoe Bend Motel (16 July, 1973), Lovell, Wyoming, USA

Stephen Shore, U.S. 97 (21 July, 1973), South of Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA

15 / 25 Stephen Shore, U.S. 97 (21 July, 1973), South of Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA

Stephen Shore, Twenty-First and Spruce Street (21 June, 1974), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

16 / 25 Stephen Shore, Twenty-First and Spruce Street (21 June, 1974), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Stephen Shore, Stanley Marsh & John Reinhardt (15 February 1975), Amarillo, Texas, USA

17 / 25 Stephen Shore, Stanley Marsh & John Reinhardt (15 February 1975), Amarillo, Texas, USA

Stephen Shore, Chas Kincaid Grocery Store (16 June, 1976), Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, Texas, USA

18 / 25 Stephen Shore, Chas Kincaid Grocery Store (16 June, 1976), Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Stephen Shore, Golden Nugget (27 June, 1978), Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

19 / 25 Stephen Shore, Golden Nugget (27 June, 1978), Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Stephen Shore, Merced River, Yosemite National Park (13 August 1979), California, USA

20 / 25 Stephen Shore, Merced River, Yosemite National Park (13 August 1979), California, USA

Stephen Shore, County of Sutherland (1988), Scotland

21 / 25 Stephen Shore, County of Sutherland (1988), Scotland

Stephen Shore, Essex County (1992/1993), Massachusetts, USA

22 / 25 Stephen Shore, Essex County (1992/1993), Massachusetts, USA

Stephen Shore, Luzzara (1993), Italy

23 / 25 Stephen Shore, Luzzara (1993), Italy

Stephen Shore, Ashkelon (1994) and Hatzor (1994) Israel

24 / 25 Stephen Shore, Ashkelon (1994) and Hatzor (1994) Israel

Stephen Shore, New York City (2000-2002), USA

25 / 25 Stephen Shore, New York City (2000-2002), USA


'Let me answer your questions by way of a story,’ says the American photographer Stephen Shore. The questions are threefold; Phaidon.com is asking ten leading figures in a variety of disciplines about what they were doing ten years ago, what they are doing now, and what they might hope to be doing in ten years' time. 

As a pioneer in the use of colour photography in the 1970s, and a personal friend of Andy Warhol, Shore was one of the most influential practitioners of his generation. At the age of 24 he became the second living photographer to have a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with his 1971 exhibition; Shore's images have endured and his work continues to challenge.

‘In the mid-1970s I was once invited for dinner at a friend's loft in SoHo,' recounts Shore. 'At dinner was Ansel Adams. During the meal I saw Ansel drink six tall glasses of straight vodka and, at some point during our long conversation after dessert, Ansel said - and I remember him saying this in an unemotional, detached way, like a photographer observing something: "I had a creative hot streak in the 1940s and since then I've been pot boiling."

'That experience crystalised something for me. Whenever I find myself copying myself – making pictures whose problems I've already solved – I give myself new issues to pursue. This could be a change of content, or of media, or of camera format, or of the formal questions I'm exploring. For me, the pictures I make are the byproduct of my explorations, not an end in themselves.'


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