The Hulett Collection presents rare color works by Louis Stettner. The photographer only took up color photography, along with painting, in the early 1990’s. He was particularly drawn to the Cibachrome process for its rich colors. The works in this selection were all shot during annual summer visits to New York City, mostly in and around Times Square or in Paris, where he resided at that time in his life. When in New York, Stettner began each day walking the streets. He called this series Manhattan Pastoral because he sought out the less gentrified parts of Times Square, west of Ninth Avenue, where he could still find regular New Yorkers against the backdrop of the city’s architecture, both vernacular and iconic, and in an ever process of change.
From the beginning of his career as a photographer, Stettner was drawn to everyday people and he particularly pursued the subject of people at work. He did this as a point of view and as a political act. Conversely and as a counterpoint, he also often portrayed people at rest, or on their commute home – as in the Penn Station series from 1958 and his initial Subway photographs from 1946. Stettner honed his vision from two traditions, American “street photography” and the French tradition of humanist photography. When, later in life, he turned to color photography, much of his format and mission remained.