Shore has become known as a pioneer of colour photography. He took his first photographs as a child and three of his pictures were acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, New York when he was only 14. As a teenager, he hung out at Andy Warhols Factory, photographing the artist and his entourage. During the 1970s, Shore began to travel across the United States, documenting the street corners, diners, gas stations and motels of ordinary America.
Initially, he used a handheld camera, taking the photographs that would later be published as American Surfaces 1999. He then went on the road with a larger-format camera, requiring a tripod, whose 8 x 10 inch contact prints can be shown without enlargement. As a result, these photographs are as vividly detailed and richly coloured as the original negative. They were published together in 1982 as Uncommon Places.