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Photo of the Week #20

Neal Slavin

Neal Slavin, Sabrett Hot Dog Vendors, NYC, 1974

Neal Slavin, Sabrett Hot Dog Vendors, NYC, 1974


January 28, 2019
Photography has shared both a friendly and combative relationship with painting and sculpture since photography was made publicly accessible by 1840. Many photographers have tried to imitate fashionable painterly styles of their time, and many artists have attempted to incorporate the intense descriptiveness and variety of viewpoints from the camera. In many instances the courts have had to decide what was original art and what constituted a copy. Think Jeff Koons.

What I love about this 1974 photograph by Neal Slavin is that it could easily be confused with a photo-realist painting. Think Richard Estes. But in truth it is totally photographic....the framing, the shallow space, the subtlety of the light, and the hot dog vendors, who cooperated with Slavin not only in regard to their positioning, but in their willingness to just "be themselves." 

Neal Slavin has written:
"While working on my series WHEN TWO OR MORE ARE GATHERED TOGETHER I came upon a building with a bright red wall and sign which euphemistically could be called the SABRETT building. While I thought the design of the elements were beautiful, four red and white striped carts with four vendors in front a red garage, what struck me more was the ubiquitous idea that the hot dog was America's favorite pastime food. A perfect fit for my series about what America looks like via it's groups, clubs, teams, and associations. An American icon."