Looking for beauty in America's cities and towns
May 2, 2011 2:18 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for photographers who explore the contemporary American urban and suburban environment, and see poetry in highways, strip malls, gas stations, motels, SUVs, financial districts that are dead on the weekend, etc. Thanks!
posted by Dragonness to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Bill Owens
Jim Alinder
Garry Winogrand
Robert Frank
posted by marais at 2:41 PM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: Jeff Brouws, Todd Hido
posted by milkrate at 2:41 PM on May 2, 2011

Stephen Shore
posted by marais at 2:45 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Nadav Kander
posted by everydayanewday at 3:02 PM on May 2, 2011

Argh, link here. Sorry!
posted by everydayanewday at 3:06 PM on May 2, 2011

His work is generally urban and often post-industrial, so I'm not sure if that's quite what you're looking for, but Camilo Jose Vergara is amazing.
posted by crabintheocean at 3:11 PM on May 2, 2011

Richard Misrach
posted by effluvia at 3:19 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ed Ruscha has a great series on Los Angeles. As does Kim Jones. If you were to look them up in relation to Los Angeles, you will find a lot. Jones walked a highway that goes through Los Angeles and took pictures at every block and documented the whole strip. As you can tell, it has been a while since I have looked up their work but it is good, I assure you ;)
posted by Dauus at 3:50 PM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: Alec Soth.
posted by xo at 5:26 PM on May 2, 2011

How contemporary do you mean?
posted by klangklangston at 5:30 PM on May 2, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the answers so far, I will be checking all this out tonight.

>How contemporary do you mean?

Current, if possible.
posted by Dragonness at 6:06 PM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: This isn't a photographer, but there was a rather (to my mind) poetic compilation of Google views of suburban developments that were abandoned or unfinished in SW Florida.
posted by ajarbaday at 6:09 PM on May 2, 2011

Jim Luning (caveat, have worked with him)
posted by timsteil at 7:45 PM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: A good keyword to search for regarding this topic is "New Topographics". It was a group of photographers in the 70s who started photographing these very things, in an era where that was not seen as legitimate work. It was essentially the anti-landscape, landscape photography; which I find incredibly nifty, even though that theme is very overplayed in the current photographers. Also, while not exactly a city photographer, Edward Burtynksky is probably one of my favorite modern landscape-y photographers right now.
posted by ruhroh at 8:44 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Lee Friedlander is still active.
posted by newmoistness at 9:31 PM on May 2, 2011

Oh, also Michael Light. (There is a short interview with the essayist Rebecca Solnit in The Believer where she discusses several of the photographers listed above.. scroll down to the last section, subtitled On Beauty).
posted by ajarbaday at 6:42 AM on May 3, 2011

Response by poster: Such great stuff, MeFites, thank you again. I'm still exploring and marking the artists I liked. though all of the ones mentioned fit the bill.

The Google views are incredible, ajarbaday, FPP-worthy (if this hasn't already been posted).

Ruhroh, you've given me the keyword I needed, that's very helpful.
posted by Dragonness at 6:50 AM on May 3, 2011

Best answer: Google Street View can also be quite poignant.
posted by milkrate at 8:31 AM on May 3, 2011

Catherine Opie made a lovely series of small B&W photos of California freeways in 1994–95.
posted by jcrcarter at 9:19 AM on May 3, 2011

Stephen Shore
Joachim Brohm
Thomas Struth
Lewis Baltz
Joshua Lutz
Jeff Brouws
Franke Gholke
William Eggleston
Alec Soth
posted by xammerboy at 12:42 PM on May 3, 2011

Jan Staller, especially his earlier work.
posted by pernoctalian at 5:06 PM on May 3, 2011

Not a photographer, but I highly recommend you read some of JB Jackson's work. He is a hero of mine, and is best known for his take on the "vernacular landscape". His writing is lyrical, but packs a punch.
posted by ghostpony at 9:13 AM on May 5, 2011

Best answer: (adding links for some photographers mentioned by xammerboy)
Lewis Baltz, William Eggleston, Thomas Struth, Joshua Lutz, Frank Gohlke
posted by klausness at 4:23 AM on May 8, 2011

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