Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Road Trip

I don't know much about Walter Silver (1923 - 1998) other than that he taught at The School of Visual Arts, and also worked as a commercial photographer.  The New York Public Library has over a thousand of his photographs in its digital collection.

The bulk of the photographs date from the 1950s - mostly pictures taken in New York, but also shots of London, Barcelona & Paris.  The New York pictures reveal a life lived at the center of the New York art world: casual, familiar pictures of studios, apartments & galleries, & the artists & writers who lived & worked in them. De Koonings, Rauschenberg, Frankenthaler, Rivers, Hartigan, Schuyler, O'Hara, Koch, et al.  The Downtown streets are represented too - clusters of street kids, dozing cats, men in hats at restaurant counters, laborers on building sites, elderly women - carefully dressed - sitting alone on sidewalk benches, waiting. 

70s pictures show billboards & graffiti, and a group from the 80s - maybe my favorites - suddenly leap into color. These color pictures are taken during bus trips.

Some of them are urban shots & others quit the city for the highway, passing tattoo parlors, parking lots, railroad cars & hitchhikers, fields & sunsets.  There's a transient beauty in this kind of photograph, taken at a light, in a jam, or on a pit stop.  You could be right there on the bus yourself, looking out the window, watching the miles go by.  The country comes right through.

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