Marc Meyer? Yes. Never heard of him? That's all right. You will know his work soon. I am going to show this young photographer's work for this post as I am struck by the strength of these pictures. I hope you'll let me know what you think.
Here's Marc's bio and artist statement:
Marc S. Meyer
Marc photographs throughout Europe and the United States. His work is characterized by its use of strong design elements combined with an acute sense of color.
Marc was born in Germany in 1987 and his family moved to Tulsa, OK when he was very little. Marc’s two sisters and three brothers were educated in the US through high school. Marc then studied art and photography at the Kansas City Art Institute, receiving his master’s degree in 2009.
Since then Marc has been working (barista, auto mechanic, waiter and now designer for a small web based startup company), traveling and photographing. Marc and his wife live near Baltimore, MD and have one child, a boy.
These pictures were made on a sunny afternoon in late September 2014 on Chappaquidick, a small island reached by taking a two-car ferry from Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard.
Marc writes about the work:
My wife and son and I were on vacation. It was the first time we’d been to Martha’s Vineyard. We’d heard about it over the years due to Obama’s going there. We were staying in Edgartown and I told my wife, Theresa, that I was going to take off for a few hours to photograph. Walking around town I came across a ferry shuttling people and cars back and forth. I asked where it took them and was told “to Chappy”. I asked how much it cost to go and return, paid and rode the ferry across the cut in the harbor. When I arrived, there wasn’t much there but a single road. I walked along the road and the first thing I came across was the Edgartown Beach Club. I photographed there for a couple of hours, walked back to the ferry and rode it back to Edgartown.
I hoped to convey a sense of this place off season, free from all the activity that takes place during the summer. I was struck by the light, the forms created by the space and the colors.
I hope you like my pictures.
The pictures are bold. I would even say: in your face. The guy has great design integrity, though. Not much color to start out. He works in sequenced series. In other words, this is a body of work we're seeing here, not just a collection of images.We've seen #'s 1, 2, 3.
Hard to get him to talk about them, meaning, I assume, that they are close to him. But he'll let a few things loose as we meet up to go over this work.
He talked about the required focus he needs to pull off a series like this. This is Marc working pretty hard, over just a couple of hours, nervous the whole time as he was trespassing.
He uses the "NoTrespassing" sign as the cover for the series.
I think these are inherently coherent visual statements. Simple really, but complex when you work at them a little, as there seem to me to be about 6 emotional states throughout the group. I think they reside in some highly purified air of the guy's aesthetic. He cuts through a lot, which is much appreciated. I love the ones that do color.
He's one reductive SOB, though isn't he? They make a Robert Frank image from "The Americans" look positively complex. But hugely appropriate in this week where we've just heard about the death of Lewis Baltz, at 69. Marc talked to me about seeing "New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California" for the first time when he was a student and how they shook his world.
One of the things that strikes me about this work is its remarkable maturity, as though someone far older and more experienced made them. In person, Marc exudes rationality, reason and a steady pace. This comes though in the pictures in their sure footedness. Placement is considered and known here. I asked him about the focal length of the lens he used. He smiled and said, "it's wide". That's all I got but I'd be willing to bet he feels the lens's extreme width is an integral part of the group of pictures.
I like his sense of humor:
Evidently he was discovering the beach club while he was photographing it. Got that? Yes, he hadn't walked it before he'd shot it. He walked it AS he shot it! Imagine. The guy's good, yes, but his confidence is big too.
So here's a discovery he made
as he came around the corner to the back side of the club. This last one is now referred to in the Meyer family as "Dad's Dinosaur Bones Graveyard Picture."
Does he know when he's making good work? Yes, I think he does. I know he's very excited when he's working this way. Here he's flipped the banality of the place and the off season time of year right over and made the place like a set or a perfect park, ready and prepared for him to photograph it. Like it's been staged. Quite the frame of mind. Marc says that's where he has to go or the pictures don't come out right. Attributing great significance to the passed by and passed over is nothing new, of course, but this series proves the tactic's efficacy.
with subtle shifts into grays, muted yellows, ochres and light browns. What a palette. I have to be careful here as I could be a little jealous.
And then really ends with:
I presume because there is some vestige of the previous season remaining in this toy shovel that was left behind as a 4 year old little girl heard her mom yelling,"Lisa you get over here right now, this instant!"on the last hot day of summer in early September before packing up to return home to the mainland.
It is also fitting that Marc ends with this pink shovel, as the first photograph in the series includes it:
this being a crop of the first picture:
This is textbook Marc Meyers, thinking of these two pictures as bookends to what is contained within the body of the series.
That pink shovel, fixed right there through the future of fall rains and winter snows, storms and mid February starry nights with the temperature in the single numbers making everything crisp, sharp and still. Wet from April showers and dark sand, to be picked up early in the season in May when the college kids come in to clean up the place to get it ready to open next June.
Marc Meyer is hoping to show these pictures to Susan Nalband at 555 Gallery in Boston as he has selected 555 as the gallery he most hopes will pick up his work. 555 Gallery is the best new photography gallery in Boston.
Interested in his work? Want to see the prints?
Bug the gallery.