Joel Meyerowitz (born March 6, 1938) is a street photographer and portrait and landscape photographer. He began photographing in color in 1962 and was an early advocate of the use of color during a time when there was significant resistance to the idea of color photography as serious art. In the early 1970s he taught photography at the Cooper Union in New York City.
His work is in the collections of the International Center of Photography, Museum of Modern Art, and New York Public Library, all in New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago.
In 1962, inspired by seeing Robert Frank at work, Meyerowitz quit his job as an art director at an advertising agency and took to the streets of New York City with a 35 mm camera and black-and-white film. Garry Winogrand, Tony Ray-Jones, Lee Friedlander, Tod Papageorge and Diane Arbus were photographing there at the same time. Meyerowitz was inspired by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank and Eugène Atget — he has said "In the pantheon of greats there is Robert Frank and there is Atget."
After alternating between black-and-white and color, Meyerowitz "permanently adopted color" in 1972, well before John Szarkowski's promotion in 1976 of color photography in an exhibition of work by the then little-known William Eggleston. Meyerowitz also switched at this time to large format, often using an 8×10 camera to produce photographs of places and people.
Meyerowitz appears extensively in the 2006 BBC Four documentary series The Genius of Photography and in the 2013 documentary film Finding Vivian Maier. In 2014 the documentary Sense of Time by German filmmaker Ralph Goertz was published.
He is the author of 16 books including Cape Light, considered a classic work of color photography. Meyerowitz photographed the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, and was the only photographer allowed unrestricted access to its Ground Zero immediately following the attack. This resulted in his book Aftermath: World Trade Center Archive (2006), which Parr and Badger include the 2011 edition of, in the third volume of their photobook history.
On January 18, 2017 Meyerowitz was honored for his lifelong work with a place at the Leica Hall of Fame and was described as a "magician using colour" and being able to "both capture and framing the decisive moment"