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Joel Meyerowitz – Europa

A road trip around Europe

In the early 1960s, American photographer Joel Meyerowitz helped overcome resistance from black-and-white traditionalists to establish colour photography as a form of art. He is renowned for his ability to capture the essence of urban landscapes and human interactions. This summer, Museo Picasso presents Europa, and exhibition based on Meyerowitz’s travels from 1966 to 1967 through England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Germany, Turkey, Greece and Italy, but focusing on his extended stay in Málaga.  

Meyerowitz started his journey behind the lens in 1962, working on an advertising project with Robert Frank. During his illustrious career, he published dozens of books and his photographs have appeared in more 350 exhibitions. He received numerous awards and accolades, including the Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Medal and a double Guggenheim fellowship. 

“The experience of making photographs in Europe changed me and gave me the perspective I needed to see myself, and then, when I returned home, to see America in a different way.”


        – Joel Meyerowitz


Joel Meyerowitz, London 1966.

Having left his job in advertising aged 28, Meyerowitz embarked on a year-long road trip that saw him drive 20,000 miles through 10 countries, taking 25,000 shots on the way. The artist settled in Málaga for six months, where he befriended the Escalonas, one of the traditional flamenco families in the city. Meyerowitz took 8,500 photographs in Málaga and captured hours of high-quality sound recordings of live flamenco. This work provides an extraordinary photographic record of Spain during Franco’s dictatorship. Meyerowitz’s time in the Mediterranean city had a lasting impact on his style, and his work redefined how reality can be captured and communicated with a camera. 

Inspired by Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Eugène Atget, Meyerowitz’s skilful use of light and colour infused his photographs with a unique sense of mood and atmosphere, whether capturing the soft glow of dawn over the Seine or the vibrant chaos of a Mediterranean market.  

Joel Meyerowitz, Paris 1967.

In his trip around Europe, Joel Meyerowitz captured feature portraits of local people, unique moments captured in everyday street scenes.
Photo: Paris, 1967 © Joel Meyerowitz

Tracing Meyerowitz’s artistic evolution during his time in Europe, this exhibition features vintage and large-format prints in colour and black and white of images depicting local people, unique moments captured in everyday street scenes, urban and natural landscapes, and photographs taken from inside his moving car. Each image is a testament to Meyerowitz’s mastery of his craft. His deep connection to the landscapes he portrays is evidenced by the incisiveness with which he captures their essence.  Meyerowitz’s art is in storytelling. His photographs encapsulate narratives frozen in time, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and emotions of each locale.  

Museo Picasso Málaga. C/ San Agustín, 8. 29015 Málaga 
15th June – 15th December 2024 
More information and tickets HERE. 

Words: Lavinia Dickson-Robinson

Opening image: Malaga, 1966 © Joel Meyerowitz. The image was cropped due to formatting restrictions.
First image body text: London, 1966 © Joel Meyerowitz


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