How was 2014 for Joel Meyerowitz?
Late period Matisse proved an inspiration, and working with film maker Ralph Goertz helped him find himself
Joel Meyerowitz is not the kind of photographer to sit back and let his legacy do the hard work for him. Instead, he continually presses on, finding new areas to take his photography, new generations to win over, generally adding to the greater cultural capital of the planet as he goes. Which, obviously, is one of the reasons we hold him so dear.
Reading his answers to our end of year questionaire, it seems this year was no different, and that next year will be even busier with news of a show featuring recently rediscovered photographs taken in Franco-era Spain and the release of a documentary that's been three years in the making. When we caught up with Joel he was settling down for Christmas in Italy where he's just relocated to from France - proof that those early street photography years have left him with a desire to keep roaming in search of the perfect picture. Talking of which, we still have three of Joel's great books in stock: Taking My Time, Aftermath, and our Joel Meyerowitz 55 stocking filler. Here's how this year looked for Joel.
What Inspired you most this year?
"The Matisse Cut-Out show at MoMA was my biggest inspiration this year. The very fact that late in the game Matisse made such an amazing leap out of his familiar methods into something that was very risky, and way ahead of his time, filled me with joy and inspiration. I want to leave my comfort zone and use my remaining years to make unexpected and unpredictable photographs."
What was your working highlight this year?
"I worked with Ralph Goertz, a filmmaker and head of the Film Archive in Dusseldorf, on completing the documentary he has been making about me for nearly 3 years. Seeing the completed work was a revelation to me, as I felt I could see something in myself that wasn’t clear to me before. At the same time he curated the biggest retrospective show of my work (at NRW Forum) that I have ever had, and these two events together have in some way freed me to move into new territory!"
What can we expect from you in 2015?
"I am fortunate to be working on several big projects; I'm writing a children’s book for Aperture on how to see, I have been given a whole Pavilion at EXPO 2015, the World’s Fair in Milano next May, for which I am making three large sculptures each around 20 plus feet tall, and which will have as their subject still lives dealing with portraits of bread, and a curator in Spain has discovered unseen work of mine from the 60’s, when I lived in Franco’s Spain and worked steadily for six months in color and black and white. He’s currently planning a show of these photographs."