Since 1974, professional assignments have taken photographer Arthur Meyerson around the world to all seven continents. Throughout it all, Meyerson’s fascination with light, color and the moment has never ceased and he has continued to produce a body of personal work that has grown into an impressive archive, “The Color of Light.” With essays by fellow photographers, Sam Abell, Jay Maisel and a conversation with John Paul Caponigro, “The Color of Light” (left) not only details Meyerson’s photographic philosophy, but also discusses and illustrates many of the themes and ideas expressed in his renowned photographs. A selection of 113 of Meyerson’s iconic images are included and further reveal his mastery of the medium. At home and away, the subject matter is diverse as seen only through the eye of this photographer.
When I first received this book, I did a quick thumb-through, which is usually the first thing I do with a table-top photography book, no matter the artist. I quickly found that instead of cruising though “The Color of Light” as I had intended, I was periodically stopping and studying a particular page. A certain shade of red would stop me in my tracks. The subtle twist of of a cowboy hat (left), caught in shadows, a well-used toothpick at the ready haunted me.
“On the wall in front of me is an Arthur Meyerson photograph. It is a portrait, but no face is visible. It is dynamic, but the action is off stage. The pick, the weather-beaten hat, and the dusty colors of the portrait speak to me of the man, his moment in time and his history.” (Sam Abell, “Arthur Meyerson, An Appreciation”)
While more somber tones can catch his attention it is mostly his use of color that arrest our interest and compel a further look “into” a unique image. These days, there are many photographers who shoot in color, but few are (literally) as good as Meyerson. Whether it is on a global assignment, at a Rice Planting Festival (below, left) in a foreign country or in his own backyard (in the U.S.), at the Blue Suede Shoes Saloon (below, right), color grabs him, profoundly, and causes him to push the shutter button.
With a photography profession that spans forty years, Arthur Meyerson has probably photographed everything imaginable, and there are few things that surprise him.
“The photographs presented here are what I consider my ‘personal’ work… that is those that I did not get paid for and are less about technique and more about a pure passion for seeing and capturing what I saw. At their best, light and color can come together at a moment in time and create an atmosphere, emotional response and/or a sense of place. And, for me that is the power and joy of the color of light.” (Arthur Meyerson, personal comments)
This not a book that you will glance at and place in a high spot on your bookshelf. You will (or should) put it on a lower shelf, at the ready for those quiet moments on an afternoon when it is raining, or blowing so hard there is little desire to go outside and work in the yard. It is a day to take some time with Arthur Meyerson and follow behind him as he takes you on a colorful journey to the ends of the earth as well as to the familiar confines of your own neighborhood.