By Austin McManus | Originally appeared in Juxtapoz
At age of 22, after dropping out of the Yale MFA program, Mark Steinmetz headed west to Los Angeles to continue his pursuit of making photographs. Despite his dependence on a car within a city of vast sprawl, he repeatedly had chance encounters with the illustrious photographer, Garry Winogrand. During the last year of Winogrand’s life, Steinmetz would subsequently photograph alongside him and adopt similar approaches to his own photographic ethos.
Steinmetz has said that for a significant portion of his young adult life, he would allot the bedroom of his living space to a darkroom, and kitchen to the print washer, while alternatively sleeping in the living room or hallway. The traditional process of shooting film, as well as self-developing and self-printing, continues in Steinmetz’s practice to this day, but he now does the chemical work separately from where he lays his head at night. He has produced over a dozen bodies of work, in categorically nebulous categories, with titles like South Central, Summertime, Greater Atlanta and South East. Steinmetz has explained that the names are more abstract than informative or useful. An exploration of the multitude of compelling images Steinmetz has created over 30 years reveals a cohesiveness and uniformity from which he never deviates. Steinmetz’s work has been included in a number of renowned museum collections across the U.S. and, working closely with Nazraeli Press, he has produced several monographs, many of which have sold out and now command high resale values. —Austin McManus