Looking back at the past decades of his career, the artist notes that different technologies have long had an outsized impact on the type of work he made. Shore started out in the early 1970s, when he was in his mid-twenties, by using a 35mm camera, and then a 4x5 large-format camera. By the middle of the decade, he recalls, switching to the 8x10 large-format camera pushed him to only take a single exposure of whatever he was shooting.
“It came about not as an aesthetic discipline, but a matter of economics,” Shore tells me. “With the color 8x10, it would cost $15 a shot—about $75 in today’s money—every time I took a picture. I just decided I wouldn’t take more than one picture of anything, and over time this became an extraordinary discipline—it forced me to decide what I really wanted.”
That discipline is something that Shore has carried with him throughout his career, even as costs have lowered significantly with digital photography. “I continue to work that way,” he says. “Even if I’m photographing with my phone, I’ll still just take one picture, because I will have figured out essentially what I want [in advance].”