Joel Meyerowitz, born in 1938 in New York, is an award winning landscape, street and portrait photographer whose work has been displayed in more than 340 exhibitions in galleries and museums worldwide. He started off with photography in year 1962 and that too in color at a time when there was resistance against its use in the field. During the 1970s he taught in New York at the Cooper Union, a course of color photography where many photographers of present time studied under him. Cape Light was his first photo book containing classic color images. 100,000 and more copies of the book were sold during 30 years. In addition to this, he is the author of seventeen more books, which includes the Aperture,Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks; Wild Flowers, 1983; A Summer’s Day, 1985; Creating a Sense of Place, 1990; Redheads, 1991; Bystander: A History of Street Photography in 1994; At the Water’s Edge in 1996; Tuscany: Inside the Light, 2003; and so on.
He was the producer and director of the film, POP, in 1998, his first production. It was a diary of a road trip he went on with his son and father for three weeks. The film focused on the aspects of aging and the effects of meditation on the importance of memory.
After the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Center that brought in many theories and controversies, Meyerowitz began collecting material for an archive based on the devastation and recuperation of the immediate neighborhood and Ground Zero. The archive has more than 8,000 photographs and was sponsored Museum of the City, New York. The U.S. Department of State held 35 worldwide exhibitions in Rome, London, Paris, Kuwait, Istanbul, Moscow, Islamabad, Jerusalem and two hundred more cities.
Apart from this work, Joel Meyerowitz produced a travelling exhibition of 117 modern and vintage prints called Out of the Ordinary, 1970 – 1980. It was premiered in Paris at the Jeu de Paume. The work has also been displayed at the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam; the Musee de la Photographie, Charleroi; the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Greece; and the Museum der Modern in Salzburg in Austria.
He has completed the grand project of covering parkland in New York spread on 29,000 acres by documenting and making an archive. Since the 1930s, it is the first extensive visual archive. The Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, Adrian Benepe invited Meyerowitz to share his work with all the communities in five boroughs.
Inspired by the work of Robert Frank, Meyerowitz quit working for an advertising agency and embarked on a journey to rediscover the streets of New York using a black and white film roll and a 35milimeter camera. He was influenced not only by Frank but by Eugène Atget and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Meyerowitz has been given several awards including iAward, the German photo book prize (Deutscher Fotobuchpreis), National Endowment for the Humanities award, and he is also a Guggenheim Fellow.
Joel Meyerowitz’s photographs are not only awe-inspiring but at many times an awakening call or in the World Trade Center series his photographs acted as a catalyst to spread awareness around the world about the event that shook the people residing in the United States. Much of his photographs depict buildings, structures and people using some centralized and off-centre perspectives.