I discovered the Roger Minick work not long ago, but I was so impressed! He has been photographing the American experience for nearly half a century. His photographs are included in permanent collections at The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan, The J Paul Getty Museum and many others. How could I ignore this fantastic photographer?!
One of his series I like most is “Sightseer“, in which Minick shows the work he did during more than 20 years in different typical tourist places; like Yosemite National Park, Cadillac Ranch, United States Capitol, Statue of Liberty, Bridal Veil Falls or Bryce Canyon National Park. “Sightseer” is an historical archive, cultural, anthropological, sentimental…It is like a poignant time-capsule of the American people at the end of the 20th Century.
He initially began the project shooting in black-and-white but quickly shifted focus to color because he felt the irony and humor between the tourists’ attire and the landscape needed a color palette. Gooood decision!
I read in an inteterview about “Sightseer” that for Minick, getting people to pose was easy, as he was often asked to take pictures of people because, with his equipment, he looked the part of a professional photographer. “Often I would use this opportunity to take a photograph with my camera, either working with the group as they had posed themselves or nudging them into a different pose. Other times I might simply take a picture of the people photographing themselves, unaware of me, and with or without the person [who was] taking the photograph in the frame.”
“Taking pictures is the number one thing people do when they go sightseeing, because there is something about being at the overlook often surrounded by lots of people; a group psychology takes over, if you will, that makes people more uninhibited in front of the cameras and in front of mine as well.”
“The Woman at Inspiration Point has perhaps been the most widely seen image from the series. I have received many letters over the years claiming that the woman is either their wife or their mother or a friend. They will claim that this person owns a coat exactly like the one in the photograph or they can remember their wife or mother buying the scarf in the Yosemite gift shop.”