Early Works

STEPHEN PERLOFF
Child in Driveway, 1956


 

This is a picture of my nephew, Bobby. My sisters are 16 and 18 years older than me (same parents, but that's another story) and Bobby, my oldest nephew, is only three years younger than me. As I recall, the car was a Studebaker. The wisteria vine that grew up the side of the garage and onto the roof seemed magical to me, like the beanstalk in "Jack and the Beanstalk." The garage was in back of the house and during our snowy winters in northeastern Pennsylvania, a man with a plow on a Jeep would plow the driveway and push the snow out of the way to the right, just in front of where the car is parked. That made for fabulous snow forts, higher than us, that lasted the whole season. A few years later, a basketball hoop and wooden backboard went up on the garage and the driveway became the scene of intense games of 21, Around the World, and Horse.

Here you can see that I am already adapting the tilted frame that Robert Frank used in The Americans, and how, with my growing visual sophistication, I use the shadow of the garage roof, which runs from the top of the child's dark pants to the bottom of the car bumper, to tie together the main elements of the picture. Plus, I'm certain that this image greatly influenced Garry Winogrand's 1957 photograph of a child in a driveway titled "New Mexico."

perloffphoto.com