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Spotlight: Arthur Meyerson's Artistic Journey

By David Schonauer   Friday February 2, 2018



Arthur Meyerson
’s list of ideal dinner guests is varied.

So is his photography.

The list includes Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Babe Ruth, Frank Lloyd Wright, Muhammad Ali, Leonardo da Vinci, and Groucho Marx. He notes that he would like to sit Marilyn Monroe next to Abraham Lincoln.

Meyerson, a PPD reader, is now 40 years into a career in photography that has included commercial work and fine-art work, all of which emphasizes his rich and often poignant use of color. Since 1990, he has also been teaching popular workshops, includeing The Color Moment and The Color of Light. Meyerson’s first book, also titled The Color of Light, was published in 2012.

Now he has published his second, titled The Journey, which is an autobiography told through art — and the stories behind the work. The book brings together selected personal projects and commissioned work from Meyerson’s archive. Many of the images included have never before been published. There is also an interview with Meyerson by noted curator Anne Wilkes Tucker.

The book is something of a workshop in itself, in which Meyerson discusses topics such as his approach to photography.

“I’ve had to learn as I go,” he writes. “And early on I learned that photography was a process of discovery of not only who I was as a photographer but also of what and how I would photograph. I had a certain set of parameters for myself that I tried to apply. First and foremost was trying to remain open, that is, avoiding preconceptions, less chance of being disappointed and more open to the possibilities of what I would find.”


Arch, St. Louis, 1993


Speaking of composition, Meyerson tells Tucker, “I really try to get everything I want to capture within the frame of the viewfinder, in order to avoid cropping afterward. It’s so easy, especially for people nowadays, to say, ‘Well, I’ll just crop it later.’ For me, it’s the opposite.” He adds, “That’s not to say I’ve never cropped a photo, of course I have. But when I do, I generally feel I’ve failed to some degree. It goes back to my being brought up in the age of film.”

Casino, Las Vegas, 2013

Flag, Washington, 2003

Not surprisingly, his thoughts about color are revealing. “I once asked Ernst Haas if ‘the decisive moment’ was the same in color as it was in black and white. His response was, ‘Color does not mean black and white plus color. Nor is black and white just a picture without color. Each needs awareness in seeing, and because of this, a different discipline.”

Flower Market, Havana, 2015


Boxing Match, Havana, 2012


The book also features Meyerson’s work from Cuba. “Watching this country evolve and seeing the changes has become a bit of an obsession with me," he says. "No other place I’ve visited seems so locked in a time warp and yet, with the opening up between the United States and Cuba, the transformation is moving along quickly. Soon the things that attracted me the most will disappear.”

Sweeper, San Miguel, 2006


Magazine Stand, Guanajuato, 2013

He has also been seduced by the “intoxicating” color of Mexico — a place, he writes, “defined by the people, the architecture, the culture, the history, the religion and the landscape.”


Spiral Stairway, Minneapolis, 1981

Among the commercial work included is this 1981 shot, which was done for the annual report of a Minneapolis company that produced building products. “I arrived a day early to scout the cement plant. As expected, the color was various shades of gray. Not exactly a color extravaganza. However, arriving the next morning at sunrise the place was lit up like a firecracker!”

Go here  for a podcast interview with Meyerson from The Candid Frame.

Go here  for more on Meyerson’s new book.
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At top: Water Wall, Tokyo, 2016

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