There are photographers that are so masterful in their creation of images that they are worth studying in the hope you can siphon off some of their brilliance. In this video, watch as some of Joel Meyerowitz’s legendary street photography is broken down and analyzed.
If you haven’t heard of Joel Meyerowitz, I’m a little jealous as you can explore his work for the first time. He’s one of America’s most esteemed photographers of all time and his street photography, in particular, is of the highest caliber. While a lot of his work is black and white — as was necessary at one point in his career and then a conscious choice for many street photographers thereafter — Meyerowitz’s eye for color is what has always attracted me to his work. So much of his most famous and successful street work has complementary colors at their centers, even if subtly.
Meyerowitz was also, of course, a master of composition in a way that only street photographers seem to be. That is, this heightened sense and sharpened eye for fleeting examples of pleasing composition that the photographer can not arrange nor freeze; they simply must be ready and waiting. While this is a tremendously difficult skill and requires some luck too, it does also call for complete mastery over a camera and its settings or the number of near-misses you will experience will put you in an early grave.
This video is a short exploration of some of Meyerowitz’s most famous works and what elements make them so appealing.