A series of suburban landscape photographs taken between 1973- 1980.
They share the same geographic locale with a majority of TEENAGE and ALMOST GROWN photographs taken on Long Island.
What makes the Hometown images so remarkable is that although the landscape photographs are different in so many ways to the TEENAGE work, they embody the same DNA and trigger the same emotional response. They have a remarkable ability to trigger a viewer’s personal memory. This is true for the photogapher as it is for his audience.
The work is autobiographical… Something akin to instant nostalgia when making the work, recalling fond memories of Szabo’s childhood and growing up.
The connection evident in the TEENAGE work carries through to Hometown. Szabo explains, “When I photographed the Hometown scenes, the shots I made reminded me of places I knew from my youth, places that I saw on my way to school, church or to the museum. So the photos I made were made of homes and places that I understood from that perspective.”
“When I see something that really strikes an emotional chord within me, I’m not really thinking of that when I’m photogaphing it. But, I’m just saying to myself, I have an understanding of this which I can’t put into words. I feel that I have some kind of insight. So in that sense it’s autobiographical.”
The Hometown photogaphs serve as a prequel to the Teenage work by giving context to suburban lives that Szabo has documented so effectively for almost forty years. They are at once nostalgic and timelesss and appeal directly to our senses and resonate within us.
Text by Phil Bicker, Time Lightbox, June 27, 2011
Books from Joe Szabo
A time of innocence and bursting sexuality, of tenderness and raucousness. Almost Grown celebrates in photographs and poetry the joys and uncertainties of that paradoxical time when we are no longer children and yet are not quite adults.
In the mid 1970’s two of my high school students approached me and asked if I would like to see a Rolling Stones Concert. They had the tickets and needed a friend with a car who would drive from Long Island to Pennsylvania.
Beginning in the early 1970’s, Joseph Szabo started capturing the melting pot of humanity on Jones Beach, one of the busiest beaches in the world with more than six million visitors a year.