Woman in red scarf, Mexico

Paul Outerbridge
Woman in red scarf, Mexico
c. 1950
Copyright 2008 Graham Howe

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Paul Outerbridge: Color Photographs from Mexico and California, the 1950s

June 14–September 7, 2008

In 1943, after a decade of pioneering work in color photography, American photographer Paul Outerbridge (1896-1958) moved to Southern California. He settled in Laguna Beach, a seaside town and an artists’ haven just two hours north of the Mexican border. In the tradition of Edward Weston, Paul Strand, Anton Bruehl, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, all of whom made significant photographic forays into Mexico and who also photographed in California, Outerbridge visited the seaport towns along California’s coastline and Mexico’s Baja peninsula making a new kind of color photograph that show virtuosic use of form, color and atmosphere from vernacular. These recently printed 1950s Kodachrome transparencies demonstrate that Paul Outerbridge anticipated the work of William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Joel Meyerowitz and others who, in the mid-1970s are credited with codifying “the New Color” in photography. This last and exemplary body of work by one of America’s greatest Modernist masters of the 1920s and 30s shows us that new ways of seeing can be accomplished simply by seeing everyday subjects in a different way.

This exhibition has been organized and circulated by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions (CATE), Pasadena, California.

The Ann Arbor presentation is made possible in part by the University of Michigan Health System and Ernestine and Herbert Ruben.