Mark Steinmetz Juries FotoFilmic SOLO EXHIBITION AWARD III

FotoFilmic is incredibly honoured and excited to welcome Mark Steinmetz as juror providing emerging and mid-career photographers with the unique opportunity to directly connect their work to such an important figure of the medium today, and whose lyrical documentary prose continues to inspire and awe so many practitioners around the world! This is a short window call with only 3 open weeks to send Mark your most polished, exhibition/publication ready photography! Applications close Monday, November 20, 2017 at midnight Pacific Time.

More Info here

The Players selected by Michael Mack as an essential photo book of 2017 in Tank Magazine

Originally appeared in TANK MAGAZINE


Every summer, Tank asks three of the world’s most important people in publishing to select with us a series of the new season’s best books. This year we approached the estimable Barbara Epler of New Directions, New York; Michael Mack of MACK, London; and Nesrine Malik. Their photobook selection ranged across genres from the theoretical works of Allan Sekula to the astonishing paintings of Alice Neel. Here is their selection of the best photobooks of this summer.

 The Players by Mark Steinmetz
“Steinmetz brings us a collection of empathetic photographic portraits of young boys aged 6 to 13 (with the exception of a few older teens) learning how to play baseball. The kids stumble through the awkward beginnings of their craft, while family and peers watch carefully or distractedly from the sidelines. Some photographers have the capacity to make classic photographs in the simplest vein and Steinmetz is someone who has done this throughout his career, largely focusing on the world close to home. His black-and-white photographs and his simple books suggest a masterful control of the medium.”—Michael Mack


Georgia on my mind: Mark Steinmetz's American south – in pictures

Originally appeared in The Guardian

From Mississippi lightning to balloons in Georgia, Steinmetz captures stories of longing, despondency and mystery in his photos of the southern states

  Mississippi, 1994


Mississippi, 1994

The American south glows with romance and poignancy in the photography of Mark Steinmetz, whose show South is at Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, until 13 May.

Steinmetz lives in Athens, Georgia, but was born in New York and raised in the Boston area. He studied at Yale’s School of Art.

He cut his teeth working with the acclaimed street photographer Garry Winogrand, cruising around Los Angeles in Steinmetz’s Fiat. ‘Garry’s cheerful, practical manner and advice probably helped me shave off years of worrying how to be,’ Steinmetz has written.

His work has since taken him from Little League baseball to Cleveland classrooms, Paris fashion houses and sheep farms. The South exhibition focuses on work taken mostly in Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi.

Summer Camp, Hendersonville, NC, 1995

Summer Camp, Hendersonville, NC, 1995

He works in black and white, explaining to Vogue: ‘There are emotional notes that black and white can deliver that colour cannot. It is a different medium. It’s like silent film. You know, Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin delivered some moments where they killed you. They just absolutely killed you. It’s not going to happen like that again with sound’.

Steinmetz photographs serendipitous moments of beauty, rarely knowing his subjects of his photos – he sometimes asks them to repeat a gesture he saw them making .

In another interview, he argues: ‘Black-and-white has more stillness to it, you can be absorbed into it in a different way. You have to employ your poetic imagination. With colour, I just have an argument! Is the green really this green, or is that the green of Kodak? I’m more interested in the narrative, the human, the interior depth of what I’m photographing – I don’t want to be distracted by bright red outerwear’

He also prizes film over digital. ‘With digital, people take pictures endlessly without being selective, and don’t learn to discipline their minds. It’s important to take an internal pause while you photograph. Time is actually malleable … Be aware of how many frames you have left and stay conscious. That’s how you’ll walk away with the photo in hand.

Steinmetz works in a darkroom in his home. ‘The darkroom is where I really confront what I’ve been doing, whether I have been successful or not and whether making a print is worth the effort. Doing darkroom work yourself helps you to become a better editor of your work, which helps you be a better photographer.

'Today’s world is so fast-paced … that in comparison, darkroom work seems to be an alien relic from an ancient world’

I don’t begin a project with an agenda,’ he has said. ‘It begins with a faint vision – one of those whispers on a breeze – that somehow gets a grip on me.'

Athens, GA, 1995

Athens, GA, 1995

Steinmetz’s work has appeared in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago and Box Galerie in Brussels .

His books include The Players, Angel City West and last year’s 15 Miles to K-Ville; he has also written for Time magazine

His next project is a commission from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta for its Picturing the South series, which will be exhibited this year.



how mark steinmetz captures love and lightning in the american south

Text by Emily Manning | Originally appeared in i-D

As a new exhibition of black-and-white images made in Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and North Carolina opens in New York City, we speak to the photographer about life in Dixie.

Knoxville, TN, 1991. Gelatin silver print. © Mark Steinmetz, Courtesy of the Artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery

Knoxville, TN, 1991. Gelatin silver print. © Mark Steinmetz, Courtesy of the Artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery

A few hours before Mark Steinmetz's new exhibition opens at Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York, it's lashing rain. The biblical downpour has made this sequestered stretch of West 22nd Street even less populated. The only sign of life is a mail carrier's push cart, abandoned outside the Comme des Garçons store opposite the gallery. For a moment, I try to imagine how the scene might look through the photographer's lens. Steinmetz's black-and-white images — medium format and elegantly rendered in silver gelatin — have been described as intimate, quietly evocative, and often melancholic. Quickly, though, I decide this exercise feels wrong.

For one, Steinmetz's show is called South. It collects pictures he made throughout the 90s (and, in a few cases, the aughts) exclusively in the American South. Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and North Carolina — landscapes with little in common with the west side of Manhattan. And, as he later tells me, he's "very interested in anticipation in photography." What happens before the rain, so to speak, or after.

Atlanta, GA, 2007. Gelatin silver print. © Mark Steinmetz, Courtesy of the Artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery

Atlanta, GA, 2007. Gelatin silver print. © Mark Steinmetz, Courtesy of the Artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery

Yet Steinmetz isn't a stranger to New York City. He was born here, but lived in Boston-area suburbs like Cambridge and Newton until he was 12. After attending high school in the midwest, he returned to New England at 21, to study photography at the Yale School of Arts. After one semester, Steinmetz dropped out of the MFA program, and in the summer of 1983, he journeyed to Los Angeles, where he heard the legendary Garry Winogrand was living. (He turned out to be correct, and last year, published a book of pictures he made while working alongside Winogrand, Angel City West.) So how did he end up in the South?

"I went to high school, weirdly, in Iowa City, Iowa. So there was some exposure to this kind of America outside of the urban areas," he explains. "I didn't go down to the South until I was doing freelance photography in Chicago. I got a last-minute job to teach at [the University of Tennessee] Knoxville, so that's when I moved. I loved it right away." He's been living and working in Athens, Georgia since 1999.


Lightning Strike, Mississippi, 1994. Gelatin silver print. © Mark Steinmetz, Courtesy of the Artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery.

Lightning Strike, Mississippi, 1994. Gelatin silver print. © Mark Steinmetz, Courtesy of the Artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery.

So often, images of young people are coded to communicate the hope of possibility, or the sorrow of its absence. In these pictures, and many of South's others (a woman leaning on her fence in Knoxville, a boy looking out a car window in Georgia, a goth on a front lawn in North Carolina) Steinmetz refuses the imposition, or even interpretation, of a single narrative or emotion. We don't have the information (and despite what many of us in the North may believe, the right) to make those judgements.

Steinmetz doesn't really either. His photographs are not documentary in a topical or newsworthy sense. Still, though they are often intimate, they are never staged. Steinmetz rarely knows his subjects. Sometimes, he asks them to repeat a gesture he's observed them making, but doesn't pose their movements. "I like pictures that have a sense of spontaneity and suddenness. Otherwise, it's just too dull for me."

Maia, Knoxville, 1991. Gelatin silver print. © Mark Steinmetz, Courtesy of the Artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery

Maia, Knoxville, 1991. Gelatin silver print. © Mark Steinmetz, Courtesy of the Artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery

That sense of spontaneity and suddenness tends to manifest subtly in Steinmetz's photographs. But in one of South's pictures — taken, fittingly, during a rainstorm — it arrives as literal lightning. In 1994, Steinmetz captured a car-less Mississippi highway. Framed by jet black trees, a towering crack of white emerges from the misty sky. Its reflection on the wet pavement stretches all the way to Steinmetz's vantage point. I ask him how this picture was even possible with medium format.

"Before this work, I did a lot of 35mm photography," he explains. When he saw lightning, he realized he only had two frames at the end of his roll. "There are lightning strikes in each picture, which is pretty good," he says with a smile. For Steinmetz, it's about "divining what the next moment will bring."

'South' is on view at Yancey Richardson Gallery through May 13, 2017.

Mark Steinmetz discusses a photo from the early work of Diane Arbus.

Originally appeared in Time Lightbox

Looking through the early photographs of Diane Arbus, I am struck by the ones where Arbus goes unnoticed by her subjects. In Couple Arguing, Coney Island, NY, 1960, something is really happening. The man takes up the center of the frame while the woman floats a little behind and clings to him tightly. Without much by way of legs or arms, she could be an annoying apparition. Her mouth is wide-open in mid-yap; his is tightly shut. His face is turned away from her verbal onslaught as he tries to tune her out. His right arm is positioned as if carrying a shield (this gladiator has a cigarette instead of a sword), and his eyes seek an escape somewhere off in the distance and in the future.

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Image from True Photo Journal

Image from True Photo Journal