January 14, 1928 – March 19, 1984
"Photography is not about the thing being photographed - it's about how that thing looks photographed"
- Garry Winogrand
Garry Winogrand was an American street photographer known for his spontaneous images of people in public engaged in everyday life, particularly of New Yorkers during the 1960s. His unusual camera angles, uncanny sense of timing, and ability to capture bizarre and sometimes implausible configurations of people, places, and things made him one of the most influential photographers of his generation. He was extremely prolific, and though he died young, Winogrand created a vast corpus of work that documented society across the United States over the course of three decades.
Supported by the G.I. Bill after spending two years in the army, Winogrand attended City College of New York (1947–48) and then Columbia University, where he studied painting (1948–51). He was introduced to photography by the school newspaper’s photographer, George Zimbel, who showed him the 24-hour darkroom. They formed the “Midnight to Dawn” club, its name reflecting their all-night work in the darkroom. Winogrand (along with Zimbel) also studied photography with Alexey Brodovitch in 1949 on a scholarship at the New School for Social Research (now the New School). Brodovitch encouraged his students to rely on instinct rather than science and methodical technique when photographing, advice that had a significant impact on Winogrand’s approach to his craft. Along with other photographers of his generation, such as Lee Friedlander, Joel Meyerowitz, and Diane Arbus, Winogrand worked tirelessly to capture the theatre of the street.
Early in his career Winogrand worked as a photojournalist for Pix, Inc., a photo bureau that provided images to news and feature magazines. Starting in 1954, under the mentorship of agent Henrietta Brackman, Winogrand sold commercial photographs to magazines such as Sports Illustrated, Collier’s, Redbook, Life, and Look, popular publications then in their heyday. In 1955 Winogrand’s work was included in the seminal exhibition The Family of Man, curated by photographer Edward Steichen at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. By the end of the 1950s, with television increasingly displacing magazines and photojournalists, Winogrand turned to making more-personal work.
Winogrand’s aesthetic vision began to emerge in 1960, when he took to the streets of New York City with his Leica camera and his bravado and began using a wide-angle lens to create lyrical photographs of the human condition. Taking cues from documentary photographers Walker Evans and Robert Frank—the latter of whom was getting attention for his grainy candid photos—Winogrand taught himself how to tilt the camera with the wide-angle lens in such a way that allowed him to include elements that, given his close vantage point, would have otherwise been cut off by the frame. This practice also resulted in unusual compositions with a certain amount of distortion. Shooting many frames in quick succession, Winogrand did not strive for the classical composition of traditional photography. The tilted-frame technique, as opposed to placing the horizon line parallel to the frame, was Winogrand’s (successful) experiment and subsequently became common practice among street photographers. His style quickly acquired the name “snapshot aesthetic,” a term Winogrand rejected because it implied that his approach was casual and without focus.
His photographs of people, primarily women, in public places and on the street—especially Fifth Avenue in New York City—were tinged with humour and satire. That work culminated in the 1975 book Women Are Beautiful, which seemed misogynistic to many readers. Winogrand was included with Ken Heyman, George Krause, Jerome Liebling, and Minor White in the 1963 MoMA exhibition Five Unrelated Photographers. The following year he was granted a Guggenheim fellowship (his first of three), which allowed him to pursue his work without financial concern. He showed his photographs in a 1967 group exhibition at MoMA titled “New Documents”; the show included Arbus and Friedlander, photographers with whom he has been associated ever since. That, and all but one of his other exhibitions at MoMA, was curated by John Szarkowski, director of the MoMA’s photography department and Winogrand’s greatest champion. In addition to people, Winogrand photographed animals in Central Park Zoo and Coney Island’s New York Aquarium. He published some of those images in the book The Animals (1969)—which was a commercial failure—and exhibited them at MoMA in 1970.
In 1971 Winogrand began teaching, first at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design (through 1972) and then at the University of Texas at Austin (1973–78), before moving to Los Angeles. Capturing such Los Angeles sites as Hollywood Boulevard, Venice Beach, the Los Angeles International Airport, and the Ivar Theater, a strip club, began to command his attention. From this period until his death, he photographed obsessively and did not edit even a fraction of the thousands of rolls of film that he shot. Winogrand produced a few discrete series in the 1970s, one of which was Public Relations. For that series, which Winogrand started shooting in 1969, he photographed high-profile events such as protests, press conferences, sports games, campaign rallies, and museum openings in order to capture what he called “the effect of the media on events”—in other words, the way people look and how they behave when they are participating in an event that will be reported in the media. The series became a book and an exhibition at MoMA guest-curated by fellow photographer and friend Tod Papageorge in 1977. Winogrand’s other big project of the 1970s was the cleverly titled Stock Photographs, documenting the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show, an annual livestock exposition and rodeo, which became Winogrand’s final photo book, published in 1980.
Winogrand died suddenly at age 56, six weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer. He left a body of work that was in complete disarray, with about 35,000 prints, 6,600 rolls of film (2,500 rolls of exposed but undeveloped film and 4,100 processed but not reviewed), 45,000 colour transparencies, and about 22,000 contact sheets (nearly 800,000 images). Winogrand’s frenetic style captured the chaos of life with immediacy and energy and left an indelible mark on 20th-century photography. His archive, most of which is held at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, continued to yield new unprinted work for decades after his death. The first major retrospective of Winogrand’s work in 25 years, held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2013, exhibited nearly 100 photos that the photographer himself had never seen.
Prepared by Naomi Blumberg, Assistant Editor, Arts and Culture, Encyclopaedia Britannica.
'WOMAN ARE BEAUTIFUL'
Have a question?
- The Animals. 1969. Museum of Modern Art, NY.
- Women are Beautiful. 1975. Light Gallery/Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
- Public Relations. 1977. Museum of Modern Art, NY
- Stock Photographs: The Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo. 1980. Olympic Marketing Corp.
- The Man in the Crowd: The Uneasy Streets of Garry Winogrand. 1998. Fraenkel Gallery.
- The Game of Photography. 2001. Tf Edition.
- Winogrand 1964. 2002. Arena Editions.
- Arrivals & Departures: The Airport Pictures of Garry Winogrand. 2002. Charles Rivers.
- Figments from the Real World. 2003. Museum of Modern Art, NY.
1986 "Little-known Photographs by Garry Winogrand", Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
1985 Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts
1984 "Recent Works", Houston Center for Photography, Texas; "Women are Beautiful", Zabriskie Gallery, NY; "Garry Winogrand: A Celebration", Light Gallery, NY
1983 "Big Shots, Photographs of Celebrities, 1960-80", Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
1981 Light Gallery, NY; The Burton Gallery of Photographic Art, Toronto
1980 Galerie de Photographie, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; "Garry Winogrand: Retrospective", Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco; University of Colorado, Boulder
1979 "Greece", Light Gallery, NY; "The Rodeo", Alan Frumkin Gallery, Chicago
1977 The Cronin Gallery, Houston; Light Gallery, NY
1975 "Women are Beautiful", Light Gallery, NY
1972 Light Gallery, NY
1969 "The Animals", The Museum of Modern Art, NY
SELECT GROUP EXHIBITIONS
1983 "Masters of the Street: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Josef Koudelka, Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand", University Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
1981 "Central Park Photographs: Lee Friedlander, Tod Papageorge and Garry Winogrand", The Dairy in Central Park, NY
1980 "Bruce Davidson and Garry Winogrand", Moderna Museet / Fotografiska Museet, Stockholm, SwedeN; "Garry Winogrand, Larry Clark and Arthur Tress", G. Ray Hawkins Gallery, Los Angeles
1978 "Mirrors and Windows: American Photography since 1960", The Museum of Modern Art, NY
1977 "Public Relations", The Museum of Modern Art, NY
1976 "The Great American Rodeo", The Fort Worth Art Museum, Texas
1975 "14 American Photographers", The Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland
1971 "Seen in Passing", Latent Image Gallery, Houston
1970 "The Descriptive Tradition: Seven Photographers", Boston University, MA
1969 "New Photography USA", Traveling exhibition prepared for the International Program of The Museum of Modern Art, NY
1967 "New Documents", The Museum of Modern Art, NY City with Diane Arbus and Lee Friedlander, curated by John Szarkowski
1964 "The Photographer’s Eye", The Museum of Modern Art, NY
1963 "Photography ‘63", The George Eastman House of Photography, Rochester, NY
1957 "Seventy Photographers Look at NY", The Museum of Modern Art, NY
1955 "The Family of Man", The Museum of Modern Art, NY
The Photographer Who Captured the Madness of the Mad Men Era
by BRUCE HANDY | June 30, 2014
I had cause not long ago to read Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s 1955 book of poetry A Coney Island of the Mind, in which he conjures a landscape of “mindless prairies” and “supermarket suburbs,” crisscrossed by “freeways fifty lanes wide on a concrete continent spaced with bland billboards illustrating imbecile illusions of happiness.”
O.K., yes: in 2014, after three or four generations of suburban alienation—and the long march of artists steeped in that alienation (the Johns, Cheever and Updike; the Davids, Byrne and Lynch; Warhol before he turned court portraitist; and virtually every indie-rock band and high-school movie)—we might feel we know Ferlinghetti’s “supermarket suburbs” all too well. But there’s valor here, too: the poet was writing at a time when America’s post-war boom was something new and strange and unprecedented; when American life was a phenomenon that demanded to be grappled with rather than merely sentimentalized, mocked, or mourned. The poem pulses with that immediacy, with 1958-ness.
You can get a similar time-traveling jolt from the photographs of Garry Winogrand, who was active in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and early 80s, before dying abruptly in 1984, at the age of 56, of a rare cancer of the gall bladder. His pictures of postwar American streets and neighborhoods, parties and political conventions—strange and off-kilter, distanced yet vibrant, simultaneously funny and sad—can work like visual smelling salts, snapping viewers out of drowsy condescension to scenes they think they’ve scene a thousand times; these are images as startling as the day they were snapped. I would bet you $10, maybe even $15, that Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men, is a devotee. An excellent retrospective of Winogrand’s work opened last week in New York, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (after appearing at the two institutions which organized it: the San Francisco Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.), and if you’re interested enough to have read this far, or flipped through the following slideshow, you’d be foolish not to see the actual show.
Winogrand frequently described himself as “a student of America” and called the postwar growth of suburbs “the main story of [his] time.” That’s all true, and it’s right there on the surface of his work, but it also makes Winogrand sound more academic and calculating than I think he was. I like this quote of his from 1980, cited in the exhibition, which gets at the spirit behind his pictures: “Sometimes I feel like . . . the world is a place I bought a ticket to. It’s a big show for me, as if it wouldn’t happen if I wasn’t there with a camera.”
America is spectacle in Winogrand’s work, a big noisy parade across regions and classes. But it’s an uneasy, anxious parade, too, one in which individuals are often swallowed up by their surroundings, prisoners of circumstance, rather than the trailblazers and lone wolves of national myth. Traffic must have fascinated Winogrand: in shot after shot, men, women, and children seem caged in their huge, shiny, big-finned 50s and 60s cars, their humanity overwhelmed by steel and chrome, almost as if they were driving coffins instead of automobiles—the open road as dead end. (These are Ferlinghetti’s “strung-out citizens in painted cars [with] strange license plates and engines that devour America.”) Similarly, in shots of elaborately coiffed socialites, the women look as if they’ve been imprisoned by their own hair. A family reunion at LAX—the husband holds a sign that says WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA JANE—is dwarfed by the airy, sterile geometry of the airport itself, and like a lot of Winogrand’s pictures, the image makes you aware of how he didn’t shoot it: up close, heightening the sentimental drama of the reunion, the way a Life photographer would have. To Winogrand’s eye, Jane, whoever she was, might as well have been just another piece of freight, her journey a mere transaction in the jet-age economy.
I don’t meant to imply that Winogrand’s work is cold or uncompassionate; his subjects may appear more as archetypes than individuals, but distance often renders their isolation all the more poignant. In one of his best-known pictures, shot in front of a home in Albuquerque in 1957, a boy in diapers appears poised between running down the driveway and disappearing into the cool black void of a carport; the flat-roof house itself is on the literal edge of a desert, its newness and cheap modernity juxtaposed with—and threatened by—the ancient landscape. Who knows? The boy might have been perfectly well-adjusted; he may be living in the same house today, a happy sexagenarian rooted in his landscape; but all the same, there’s a mystery and ambiguity in the image that, to my mind, evokes the tension between the famous American itch to light out for new territory, to escape, and the difficulty of doing so in a country of narrowing horizons.
Is the boy’s tipped-over tricycle a symbol of that tension? Sometimes a tricycle is just a tricycle, but if I’m reading into Winogrand’s pictures, it’s only fair, since he himself was well aware of photography’s gift for making up stories while seeming to tell truths. Jeff Rosenheim, the Met’s head curator of photography (and a friend of mine), was a student of Winogrand’s. Rosenheim recalls Winogrand telling him not to worry about the story behind an image: “Forget the original situation. It’s gone. Look at the picture. . . . A photograph is a new thing—an illusion, a lie, a transformation.” You couldn’t ask for a more honest summation of the medium’s power, and of Winogrand’s.
THE PIONEERING STREET PHOTOGRAPHY OF GARRY WINOGRAND
by NOELLE BODICK | June 2, 2014
The first time you see a photograph by Garry Winogrand, the prolific documenter of the mid-century American street who has a restrospective opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this month, you might pause and think, “Huh, lucky shot.” Everything aligns just so. Three women with bouffant hair, for example, in a photo from 1961, form a V formation like migratory birds, clipping towards the lens in white pointed heels and knee-length skirts, each clutching big handbags and beaming identical looks—something between heavy-lidded bedroom eyes and glaring death stares. In the edge of the frame are men in cheap suits, and gleams of light flashing like knives in the windows of gridlocked cars.
But then you encounter more of Winogrand’s teeming spectacles—a wind-swept woman issuing from the street, about to make a left turn in front of a “No Left or U-Turn” road sign, or else a pudgy, ovine boy in Texas as round and dim-looking as his adjacent sheep companion—and you realize that these are more than a few well-chosen moments. Winogrand’s genius lay in identifying the visual rhymes and assonances of the street again and again as he roved around, a dogged reporter of the everyday.
Born in the Bronx in 1928, Winogrand was a weather forecaster for the army and then a Columbia University student under the G.I. Bill. Studying in that school's painting department while also auditing photo classes at the New School and CUNY, Winogrand soon sided with the camera, and his own career followed the graduation of photography from a journalistic tool to the realm of fine art. By 1967, the legendary MoMA photography curator John Szarkowski included Winogrand in the landmark exhibition “New Documents” along with Diane Arbus and Lee Friedlander, calling Winogrand a “central photographer of his generation.” Here, we have a closer look at the work of this clear-eyed wanderer whose photographs recorded the vast breadth and restless energy of 1960s America.
Some photographers treat their cameras like professional baseball players do their bats: only swinging at something when at the plate. But for Winogrand, every minute was game time. Roving through the streets, he hung two wide-angle Leica’s around his neck and wore a safari jacket stuffed with dozens of canisters of 35-millimeter film. He exposed some 20,000 rolls over the course of his life, shooting at a manic pace. He could exhaust an entire roll while traveling down a single city street block. “Being married to Garry was like being married to a lens,” his first wife recalled.
Winogrand didn’t develop film immediately after his trigger-happy shooting sessions. Instead, he would wait, a year or two, allowing the memory of the day to fade completely. “If I was in a good mood when I was shooting one day, then developed the film right away, I might choose a picture because I remember how good I felt when I took it,” Winogrand explained.
Upon his untimely death at the age 56, he left 6,500 rolls (250,000 images) undeveloped. (Volume-wise, he would have been better suited for our age of Instagram and endless streams of digital photographs.) Curator Leo Rubinfien shuffled through over 20,000 contact sheets and nearly a million pictures for the Winogrand's Met retrospective.
"You could say that I am a student of photography, and I am" Winogrand said, "but really I'm a student of America." Winogrand documented a seemingly endless parade of his countrymen with his camera: business tycoons, soldiers, antiwar protestors, feminists, zoo visitors. He never shot with any particular motive or show in mind, and his images share this quality, hewing to no single, pointed focus. Critics originally found fault in this approach, calling the densely packed pageants diffuse and formless. Today, though, we appreciate them as modern-day history paintings, thick with interweaving subplots and inchoate, evolving action, with meaningful sideward-glances exchanged on the periphery.
At a posh dance party, for example, a young platinum blonde swivels her waist and purses her lips. Further in the background, a tuxedoed old man with hair as pure white as her own also wears the same downward cast glance and thin-lipped expression. Packing in as much information and synchronicity into the frame as it can fit, Winogrand charged the photos with wild energy and opened up the picture to more visual resonances, and moments of serendipity.
This animated, buoyant atmosphere, however, dwindled in the photographer’s later years; photographs from Texas and Los Angeles hold a darker allure. In the picture Day of the Dead (1979), for instance, a woman lies immobile on the side of a Los Angeles road as a Porche rolls by.
There was one notorious body of work for which Winogrand did select and sequence himself: “Women Are Beautiful,” a 1975 book published of women doing activities, from dancing to demonstrating. Often, they are buxom women in snug dresses, or long-limbed ones in short skirts. Indeed, the series incited the censure of some critics as being misogynistic, or else objectifying. An off-kilter angled photograph centers on a woman in a phone booth with a long leg propped up and face blocked out by the bar. What’s the line between celebrating women's liberation and indulging hetero male erotic fantasy? In the cover photograph of the series, a woman tilts her hair back laughing with an ice cream cone in one hand. Behind her is a headless mannequin in a suit and tie. Does she get the last laugh?
Winogrand didn’t see his project in antagonistic terms, however. “Whenever I’ve seen an attractive woman,” he said, “I’ve done my best to photograph her. I don’t know if all the women in the photographs are beautiful, but I do know that the women are beautiful in the photographs. By the term ‘attractive woman,’ I mean a woman I react to positively… I do not mean as a man getting to know a woman, but as a photographer photographing.”
Recently, the curator Rubinfien told the New York Times that, in the best of Winogrand’s photographs, “you don’t know whether to feel elated or horrified, and you feel both.” In the same way, we are not sure if the images of Winogrand's women are condemning or celebratory. We are left with something messier, and perhaps more interesting.
GARRY WINOGRAND: Huge Influence, Early Exit
By FRANK VAN RIPER
In 1984, Garry Winogrand, one of the greatest documentary photographers of his era, died early and under-appreciated.
Which is not to say that Winogrand, a bluntspoken, sweet-natured native New Yorker, who had the voice of a Bronx cabbie and the intensity of a pig hunting truffles, was by any means unknown or unrewarded for his work. During his short life (he died of gall bladder cancer at age 56) he won a Guggenheim fellowship, was featured in Edward Steichen's classic "Family of Man" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and later figured prominently in two major photography shows, also at MoMA, curated by Steichen's successor John Szarkowski, one of Winogrand's early champions.
What is beyond question, though, is that the photographer's early death, as well as his own bizarre work habits, prevented the general public from fully grasping his genius – even if any street photographer worthy of the name still genuflects at the mention of this brilliant, bizarre shooter.
Simply saying Winogrand's output was large is like saying the Grand Canyon is a hole in the ground. In fact, it is almost impossible to grasp just how much Winogrand photographed during his comparatively short professional life.
Consider this: at his death, Winogrand left behind 2500 undeveloped rolls of 36-exposure 35mm film (mostly Tri-X), 6,500 rolls of film that had been developed but not contact-printed–not to mention 300 apparently untouched, unedited 35mm contact sheets.
Do the math. Conservatively, that's at least 300,000 pictures – equal to at least two life's work for anyone else–that Winogrand took but never even saw, so busy he already had been photographing the world around him.
"Being married to Garry was like being married to a lens," his first wife told photography curator Trudy Wilner Stack. Colleagues, students and friends describe an almost obsessive picture-taking machine, who roamed his native New York and, during his fellowship year, the rest of the country, producing a body of work that equals – and in my opinion often exceeds–that of such documentary photography legends as Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Diane Arbus and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Through the prodigious efforts of Trudy Wilner Stack, the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, where Winogrand's archive resides – as well as the International Center for Photography in New York–a new and remarkably diverse section of Winogrand's life has been revealed for the first time.
Winogrand 1964 is the name of both a beautifully printed coffee table book (Arena Editions, $60) as well as that of a recently-ended show of this work at ICP midtown. Finally, perhaps, some of the best, yet heretorfore largely unseen, work of this master shooter will find its long-overdue audience.
The 1964 photographs are the result of Winogrand's cross-country Guggenheim-funded odyssey in a battered 1957 Ford Fairlane, given to him by his friend Lee Friedlander. "This is Garry Winogrand's America book," Stack says in her afterword to Winogrand 1964. And, indeed, Winogrand set off on his journey mindful that he had huge photographic shoes to fill. Years earlier, Walker Evans had given the world American Photographs and the Swiss-born Robert Frank had raised the bar even further with his seminal book, The Americans.
The timing of Winogrand's trip was auspicious – at least in terms of the angst and ennui of the era in which he photographed. Winogrand applied for his grant in the early 60s, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, when nuclear war suddenly had become a terrifying possibility. In his grant application Winogrand complained that the mass media "all deal in illusions and fantasies. I can only conclude that we have lost ourselves and that the bomb may finish the job permanently, and it just doesn't matter, we have not loved life.
I cannot accept my conclusions, and so I must continue this photographic investigation further and deeper. This is my project."
By the time Winogrand received his grant, John F. Kennedy had been assassinated, stripping away even further the country's innocence and its sense of invulnerability.
Thus, a street-smart Jewish kid from the Bronx, who considered himself whole only when he held a Leica to his eye, hit the road, savoring and reflecting life through his lens.
"It's as though his life in photography really took hold in that slow car headed west," Wilner writes.
There is Winogrand the ironist in a stunning picture of a group of elderly VFW types, campaign hats on their heads, cigarettes dangling from their lips, on a street corner in Dallas, all but encircling an elderly and apparently legless mendicant – whom they do not seem even to see.
There is a haunting, slightly disturbing, picture from Cincinnati of three young girls in ankle socks and pretty dresses, standing in a line at a curb at night, lit from behind by store or streetlight, leaning into the street yet seemingly held motionless, as a huge car floats by, a face perusing them from the passenger seat.
There's a great get from L.A. – one of the few pictures here that has had wide prior currency – showing a man and woman in a convertible on a warm night. The dark-skinned woman stares ahead implacably; her companion, one hand on the wheel, the other on the gearshift, eyes her appraisingly (?) hungrily (?). Your eye goes not only to the man's predatory gaze, but also to the huge white bandage at the bridge of his nose. How did that happen? Is he a prizefighter who took a left hook? Did his girlfriend do this to him? Or is it just a healing nose job?
Winogrand gives us no answers; only wonderfully contradictory, perplexing questions contained in seemingly artless 35mm frames.
Again we come to technique. Photographer and editor Mason Resnick recalls taking a workshop with Winogrand in 1976, ten years before the photographer died, and marveling at how Winogrand worked. He shot prolifically, Resnick recalled, often shooting an entire roll of film in the space of only one block, never breaking stride. And he was fearless, often standing in front of people to make their picture, yet always smiling or nodding at them, making contact, however brief, with his subjects – who amazingly, never seemed annoyed.
[When Resnick tried this smile-and-shoot technique, he was amazed to see that it worked for him too. Nobody beat the crap out of him; some people even smiled back! An object lesson to all street shooters: engagement with a subject is always – always – better than, in effect, taking something without permission. Winogrand was a master at gaining this subtle, yet all-important, access.]
By any standard, Winogrand followed in the proud tradition of black and white street shooters, who worked by available light, often with silent-as-night rangefinder Leicas. Yet what makes Winogrand 1964 even more amazing is its generous amount of lush, wonderfully seen color work, most if not all shot on archival Kodachrome slide film. Winogrand "photographed freely in color in 1964, exposing approximately 100 rolls on the trip alone," Wilner writes. "Black and white still dominated [at least four to one], but the color camera was often raised just seconds before or after a black and white shot was taken."
If Winogrand's color work does not have the narrative impact of his black and white work, it makes up for it in its spot-on graphic sense, using color and shape the way a jazz musician uses phrasing and tempo to shade a performance.
Technique once again: Winogrand almost never developed his film immediately. He said he deliberately waited a year or two in order to lose the memory of the take. "If I was in a good mood when I was shooting one day, then developed the film right away," he told a class, "I might choose a picture because I remember how good I felt when I took it." Better, he maintained to let the film "age," the better to grade slides or contact sheets objectively.
Let me say right now: If I ever had to work this way, I'd go nuts.
There is an artless formality to much of Winogrand's work here. Not many of the images feature his trademark skewed horizons – made as if he were too busy grooving on the image before him to worry about horizontals and verticals. Yet, interestingly, Winogrand maintained that he never, in effect, shot from the hip, i.e.: photographed without looking through the viewfinder. To do so, he said, would surrender too much control over the final image.
In fact, John Szarkowski has maintained that Winogrand's trademark tilt was a conscious consequence of his choice of a wide angle lens, and that the photographer subtly made at least some verticals in his picture "square with the frame" to keep the image from appearing haphazard or confusing.
I'm not so sure. I think some of Winogrand's stuff was shot on the fly, with scant regard for composition, only for content. I am sure that Garry Winogrand was a master, with a compassionate, ironic eye, and that there are doctoral dissertations and books yet to come on the incredible trove of 300,000 images that he made but never saw.