This month we take a moment to reflect on the life and work of the indelible photographer, Roz Joseph. Joseph passed on Christmas day of 2019, at the age of 93. From New York City, to San Francisco - from black and white, to color, Joseph’s prolific career transitioned dramatically along with her geographic changes.
Born in the Bronx, Joseph made her way to NYC where she studied photography, honing the stylistic strategies made famous by Henri Cartier-Bresson, the father of modern documentary photography. Her early work spans the globe, documenting her travels across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East in rich noir chiaroscuro, always seeking the decisive moment.
Upon moving to San Francisco in the 1970’s, color and abstraction became central to Joseph’s work, inspired by the city’s vibrant palette, deeming it a ‘color city’. Shots of colorful buildings and architecture are closely cropped, creating a color block composition, mimicking the aesthetic of abstract expressionism transposed to the photographic medium, drawing the viewers attention to the inherent beauty that can be found within the urban bustle of San Francisco. She called this series “City Art”, again highlighting the notion that art can be found all around us, even in the everyday and the mundane.
Joseph was also known for her documentation of the Drag Queen community in San Francisco during the 1970’s, creating beautiful full color portraits, archiving an integral part of this city’s culture and LGBTQ visibility. Most of the works in this series were donated to the GLBT Historical Society, located in the Castro district of San Francisco.
In remembrance of Roz Joseph’s life and career, we are featuring a curated selection of her photographs, reflective of her creative growth in the city of San Francisco. For more of her work, and the rest of her story, please visit our website at www.lostartsalon.com