Leica Camera AG honours and celebrates the lifework of outstanding photographer Joel Meyerowitz with Leica Hall of Fame Award and major exhibition at Leica Galerie Wetzlar
Acclaimed photographer, Joel Meyerowitz, will be honoured for his lifework with the Leica Hall of Fame Award and a major exhibition at ‘A Celebration of Photography’ – an event to be held by Leica Camera AG on 18 January 2017. The exhibition at the Leica Galerie Wetzlar opens on 19 January and runs until 31 March 2017.
Joel Meyerowitz is undoubtedly considered to be among the most prominent representatives of US-American street and colour photography, with his exceptional eye for capturing surprising, and often bizarre, moments of everyday life. His subjects, identified and captured in fractions of a second, always appear to be meticulously arranged compositions.
An encounter with Robert Frank in the early 1960s, who Meyerowitz met in the course of his work as art director for an advertising agency, was the turning point that led to his decision to become a photographer. Fascinated by the work of his role model, the Leica Hall of Fame Award winner decided to dedicate his life to street photography. In the following years, he captured life on the streets of New York. Here, he found the electrifying stage for his accurate observation of people and life in the big city. From 1962, Meyerowitz was shooting with colour and, another year later, also began to shoot in black and white. He refined the methods he learned on the streets of New York on an extended trip through many European countries in 1966/67.
Joel Meyerowitz commented, “When I hold the camera in my hands, I often think it’s a kind of divining rod. It guides me. I always feel that if you carry a camera, you have a licence to see.”
Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, art director and director general of Leica Galerien International, said, “Joel Meyerowitz is one of the most important protagonists and co-founders of street and colour photography. His eye for the situation, dynamic and driven by curiosity, his unmistakeable style, his instinct for capturing the magic of everyday life and its special moments led to the creation of some of the most exceptional images in the history of photography. With the Leica Hall of Fame Award, we would like to honour his outstanding work as a photographer and his unique photographic signature. At the same time, we would like to express our particular appreciation of a rather special and sensitive person.”
Joel Meyerowitz was born in New York in 1938 and grew up in the Bronx. He studied painting and initially worked as an advertising art director. Meyerowitz began shooting on 35mm colour film in 1962. In the following year, he alternated this with black and white before returning to the richness of storytelling in colour. New York always remained the dominant focus of his life as a photographer – from his early work from the 1960s to his evocative images taken at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11. Meyerowitz lives and works in New York and Tuscany.
The exhibition in his honour can be seen at the Leica Galerie Wetzlar from 19 January to 31 March 2017. The gallery is open Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 20.00 and at weekends from 10.00 to 18.00.
The Leica Hall of Fame Award
First presented in 2011, the Leica Hall of Fame Award shares the tradition of earlier Leica Camera AG awards by recognising exceptional photographers for their particular contributions to the photographic genre, or invaluable services to the Leica brand. Previous winners of this prestigious award are Magnum photographer Steve McCurry, Barbara Klemm, long-standing editorial photographer at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Nick Út, for his momentous documentation of contemporary history in his images of the Vietnam war.
Other prominent photographers honoured with the Leica Hall of Fame Award are René Burri († 2014), famous for his emotive images captured before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Thomas Hoepker, who documented people and events of contemporary history with his Leica M, and decisively influenced the genre of reportage photography in the second half of the 20th century. Last year, the Leica Hall of Fame Award honoured Ara Güler, arguably Turkey’s most eminent photographer, who impressively portrayed life in the city of Istanbul, his birthplace and home, for more than 60 years, and is world famous for his incomparable black and white images of the metropolis on the shores of the Bosporus from the 1950s and 1960s.
Joel Meyerowitz Receives Leica Hall of Fame Award