An American Epic: The Work of Garry Winogrand

And yet if Winogrand authored a modern epic, what is equally striking was his acknowledgment of the limits of photography throughout his career. As a documentarian of the everyday, he believed his pictures were mere windows into a moment, at best a surface level description of life

More thoughts on Winogrand

The rush is on. Spurred by the SFMoMA retrospective, several articles about Winogrand have appeared recently, some in relatively unlikely places. For example, I don't recall Mother Jones or Harper's taking much of an interest in street photography before now, not to mention Huffington Post. What's next? Time? People? I'm guessing we'll see a spate of crossover reviews in the next few weeks before Winogrand once more settles into cultish obscurity. So we might as well enjoy his moment in the sun while it lasts. Bring on the press!

"Standing on the Corner - Reflections Upon Garry Winogrand's Photographic Gaze - Mirror of Self or World? Pt. I" (1991)

New Mexico, 1957 (Figure 13) Part I By Carl Chiarenza Originally Published in IMAGE Magazine: Journal of Photography and Motion Pictures of the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Volume 34, Number 3–4, Fall–Winter, 1991

There is no denying the force, the influence, the dominance of Winogrand’s presence during a critical time in the histories of both photography and America. There is no denying that he contributed mightily to important changes in how we view significant aspects of the relationships between the photographic medium and life in American society. Without question his work has had, and continues to have, a major influence on younger male photographers. One might even say that Winogrand invented a new form of “street photography,” a form that has transformed our view of our public selves, or, at least, has made us more conscious of our view of our public selves. A curious and perhaps relevant observation is the fact that “street photography” has been almost exclusively the domain of male photographers (with such very important exceptions as Helen Levitt and Lisette Model). In turning the documentary idea emphatically inward upon himself, while still turning the documentary camera outward upon the world, Winogrand forced the surfacing of new knowledge about both his reality and ours.

Class Time with Garry Winogrand (1974 - 1976)

  By O.C. Garza The years were 1974, 1975 and 1976. Step back to those years in what was the active, peaceful city of Austin, Texas. The city is nestled hard against the banks of the Colorado River that knives through central Texas. This state govern

If students were taking Garry’s class to learn photographic techniques and methods, they were sorely disappointed. Garry didn’t teach much technique. That was left to the PJ side of the photography world or to his “TAs”. You have a lifetime to learn technique, he seemed to be saying, but I can teach you what is more important than technique, how to see; learn that and all you have to do afterwards is press the shutter.

The Garry Winogrand Problem (1988)

Shooting inordinate amounts of film, Winogrand charted a vast, freebooting odyssey through three-and-a-half decades of American culture. Garry Winogrand: . . . ‘I forgot what year when Robert Frank’s book came out. He was working pretty much ar

Modern photography, by reason of unceasing technical advance, is eminently capable of producing a mindless accumulation of automatic images, whose meaning at best is peripheral and uncertain, whose tenor at worst is dumbly exploitative and reactionary. Photographers all too frequently make pictures so conceptually casual and brainlessly superficial that their minimal meaning is exhausted at a glance.

Standing on the Corner - Reflections Upon Garry Winogrand's Photographic Gaze - Mirror of Self or World? Part II (1991)

Whenever I see it, I immediately hear a voice singing, "Standing on the corner watching all the girls go by." Yes, it is a sexist work. But that is a fact about Winogrand we must face and accept, if we are to honestly assess his picture-making. Part II

About looking and watching. That is what so many of Winogrand's pictures are about—about his looking and watching. And that is why I think, in clear disagreement with most other writers on Winogrand, that Women are Beautiful (1975) is the quintessential Winogrand book. Whenever I see it, I immediately hear a voice singing, "Standing on the corner watching all the girls go by." Yes, it is a sexist work. But that is a fact about Winogrand we must face and accept, if we are to honestly assess his picture-making. Of his books it is the most vibrant and vital; it is the one that most consistently reveals an honest, deep, real commitment.

Standing on the Corner - Reflections Upon Garry Winogrand's Photographic Gaze - Mirror of Self or World? Part II (1991)

Whenever I see it, I immediately hear a voice singing, "Standing on the corner watching all the girls go by." Yes, it is a sexist work. But that is a fact about Winogrand we must face and accept, if we are to honestly assess his picture-making. Part II

Garry Winogrand's premature death seven years ago was tragic and troubling. He was too young to die. He had not yet worked through what was clearly a very difficult passage in his photographic work. To want to eulogize him and his work seems natural. To want to assess his career in positive terms seems reasonable. To find oneself torn by the feeling that an honest assessment might expose something that is less than had been anticipated has, however, become the reality of the task at hand.

AMERICANSUBURB X: INTERVIEW: "Monkeys Make the Problem More Difficult – A Collective Interview with Garry Winogrand" (1970)

Garry Winogrand (1928- ) spent two days in Rochester, New York, in October, 1970. On Friday, the 9th, he was the guest of the Rochester Institute of Technology. On Saturday, the 10th, he visited the Visual Studies Workshop, also in Rochester. The format was identical on both occasions: Winogrand, without comment, showed slides of his latest work and then answered questions from the student audiences. All in all, he talked for over five hours. The following transcript, edited from a tape recording of the proceedings, represents but one idea among the many ideas that were touched on

Coffee and Workprints - A Workshop With Garry Winogrand (1988)

"The director confided that Winogrand doesn't make learning easy; be patient, he urged, it's worth it. If we weren't satisfied by the weekend, he'd give us a refund." Coffee and Workprints: A Workshop With Garry Winogrand - Two Weeks with a Master o

We quickly learned Winogrand's technique--he walked slowly or stood in the middle of pedestrian traffic as people went by. He shot prolifically. I watched him walk a short block and shoot an entire roll without breaking stride. As he reloaded, I asked him if he felt bad about missing pictures when he reloaded. "No," he replied, "there are no pictures when I reload." He was constantly looking around, and often would see a situation on the other side of a busy intersection. Ignoring traffic, he would run across the street to get the picture.

AMERICANSUBURB X: THEORY: "The Animals and Their Keepers: Garry Winogrand and Photography After September 11th"

“The Animals,” a book I was moved to reexamine after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, is the deliberately literal-sounding title of photographer Garry Winogrand’s first book of photographs, which was published in 1969, some 20 years after the artist embarked on his life’s work that of becoming the Theodore Dreiser of the lens. Winogrand was New York’s, not Chicago’s, most brilliant modern reporter, a journalist not unaware of the issues implicit in what he chose to photograph: the women and blacks who defined the city’s “outsiderness.”

The Year in Pictures: Garry Winogrand – Part 1

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I also came across this uncredited biography of Winogrand on the Temple University website. I thought it was worth copying whole, but if you have to skim, don’t miss out on John Szarkowki’s final quote. As always, he said it better than anyone.

Check it out here.