WEST 46TH STREET, NEW YORK CITY, 1976
Here comes everybody. New York, 1976. Elton John and Kiki Dee on top of the charts. The Son of Sam has started his killing spree. And photographer Joel Meyerowitz was out in the streets with his camera. He once said, he was trying to catch “the all of it”. You could argue in this image that’s exactly what he did.
Meyerowitz is a contributor to and a co-editor (along with photography expert Colin Westerbeck) of the reissued Bystander: a History of Street Photography. Originally published in 1994, it surveys the art of the street photograph from the Reverend Calvert Richard Jones’s Panorama of Santa Lucia, Naples, in 1846 right up to Melissa O’Shaughnessy in New York’s Herald Square last year.
On every page people talk and walk, argue, fight and kiss, framed in a lens they often never notice. “I’ve spent a lot of my life being ignored,” the street photographer Saul Leiter once said. “To be ignored is a great privilege.”
The result is a book full of stolen glances, fleeting moments and fortunate discoveries. It’s a book, in short, full of life. The all of it? Pretty close.
Bystander: a History of Street Photography by Joel Meyerowitz and Colin Westerbeck is published by Laurence King, priced £45