Lost and Found and Close Strangers
In a rare combination of seat-of-the-pants street shooting and penetrating, narrative-rich portraiture, Michael Joseph has unveiled an entire American youth sub-culture. “Travelers” are nomads traversing the country by hitching rides and hopping freight trains, imperiling themselves in search of adventure, escape, and often, themselves. Photographing on Boston city streets, Joseph happened upon members of this group hidden in plain sight. His stunning, close-up B&W portraits became the part of the series Close Strangers. Continuing to photograph in different cities as he traveled, Joseph began to find some of the same people again, often in cities thousands of miles apart. Soon, he gained their trust and delved deeper, learning their stories and creating his telling current series, Lost and Found. The two projects have much in common, beginning with the youth themselves. But in Lost and Found, Joseph has chosen to take a half-step back, revealing the added unspoken messages born by the kids’ disheveled clothing, accessories like the culture-distinguishing “skank” (neck kerchief) and especially the tattoos that proclaim their passionate stories. Each face and attitude is unique - prideful, defensive, diffident, affable – and each, obstinately memorable. They possess a raw, feral magnetism. Joseph’s frank and intimate portraits of these young spirits, captured as they navigate a strange and often dangerous world, implore some soul-searching about society and family, conformism and freedom, even what we mask and expose of ourselves.
-Elin Spring, Writer, Blogger, Contributor to the Initiative
Michael Joseph is a street and street portrait photographer. Raised just outside of New York City, his inspirations are drawn from the interactions and observations of people in city streets. He enjoys interacting with people who are most unlike himself and aims to afford his audience the same experience through his photographs. His portraits are often taken in real time and up close to allow the viewer to explore the immediate and unseen.
Michael has been exhibited nationally, most recently in the Aperture Gallery (New York, NY), Project Basho Gallery (Philadelphia, PA), as well as the Light Factory (Charlotte, NC). He has lectured for Amy Arbus at the International Center of Photography (New York, NY) and portraiture classes at the New England School of Photography (Boston, MA). His portraits are held in the permanent collection at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art in Indiana.