Between 1973 and ’76, Mitch Epstein photographed in American cities—New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans, among others. In 1973 he was initially shooting in black-and-white as a student of Garry Winogrand when he asked his teacher, “Why not color?” With Winogrand’s blessing, Epstein shot his first rolls of Kodachrome. Silver + Chrome is a chronicle of his three years alternating between color and black-and-white, before eventually committing to color.
This book contains Epstein’s earliest work, virtually none of which has been seen before. In these kinetic tableaux, the artist’s exuberance is tamed, just barely, by his formal intelligence. He depicts American city life as it undergoes taboo-shattering sexual liberation, economic crises and the repercussions of a boondoggle war in Vietnam, immersing us in the urban chaos of this complicated time.