Garry Winogrand- Photographer of the streets
June 10, 2015 2:28 PM   Subscribe

Things Garry Winogrand Can Teach You About Street Photography An amazing post about the life and work of Garry Winogrand, a street photographer (who HATED that phrase) who took millions of photographs in his lifetime--so many, in fact, that he died without seeing half a million of them.
posted by ColdChef (15 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
My husband and I recently caught an exhibition of Winogrand's photos. Amazing. A tremendous eye and technique.
posted by bearwife at 2:43 PM on June 10, 2015

I love this:
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.” – Mason Resnick
posted by Fizz at 2:56 PM on June 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Is a Winogram a Garry Winogrand Instagram?
posted by larrybob at 3:01 PM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm always in awe of the ability of great street photographers to just get in there and take the shot. Partially I think the attitudes towards public photography, especially in the Midwest where I am, have changed over the years to make that harder, but largely it's just that unless I'm shooting from the hip I don't have the courage and confidence to fight through social anxiety issues and be that bold with it. Especially with a 28mm lens, like Winogrand! Barely any breathing room between him and his subjects in a lot of his shots.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:11 PM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

"Is a Winogram a Garry Winogrand Instagram?"

Heh. A happy mistake.
posted by ColdChef at 3:29 PM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

[Fixed title, carry on. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:36 PM on June 10, 2015

The current exhibition of many of his unseen photos is winding up and has only stopped at a few places around the world. It is worth a special trip. I saw it in Madrid and it was exceptional.
posted by JJ86 at 5:09 PM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Winogrand might not be the best example, he is my favourite photographer, but other's collected his work, and how he lost his gifts at the end seem a fascinating, and important cautionary tale. I can't quite figure out what the moral is though.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:54 PM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Winogrand was a tall imposing figure from the Bronx and that had a huge influence on his photos. He really did not care if people objected to his photographing them, he just did it, and was able to get away with it. There's a scene in that video about how Winogrand shot and he takes shot after shot of this couple walking past him while the man in the couple glares right at him. A lot of his images on the street have people glaring right at the camera lens, at Winogrand. It's fascinating how confrontational he was with that camera.

Many photographers have a period where they are strongly influenced by his images, the framing and the style. We had a professor in art school who hated this. Later I heard from an older grad student (so yes I have really not idea how true this is so sorry for that) who told me he was at an art party in Houston in the 1970's and that professor dismissively told Winogrand: "You argue with volume and no substance." To which Winogrand responded by simply punching that guy in the nose.

Sorry if this sounds dismissive of physical violence, but I always thought that story was so fitting: that a pretentious conversation about art morphed into one about how to correctly argue and ended in a fist to the face. Winogrand seemed like the kind of person who would push past to that last step, past when most others would stop. His photos have that same kind of push past where others no longer feel comfortable shooting. That's part of what makes them so great to look at.
posted by dog food sugar at 6:49 PM on June 10, 2015 [5 favorites]

Here's a video of Winogrand at work. And here's an amazing video (almost 2 hours long) of Winogrand talking to a Rice University class. It's been a while since I've watched it, but if I remember right, he talks about how he works, talks about other photographers working at the time (there's mention of Robert Frank, for instance), etc.
posted by msbrauer at 5:30 AM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

so much of the digital photgraphs that I see are pristene and antiseptic..untouched, never touched... darkroom photography vs software photography
posted by judson at 7:14 AM on June 11, 2015

One of my favorite posts in a long while; thanks ColdChef. That really is an impressive, informative page in Winogrand’s honor. I realized a little while ago I've now taken more than 100,000 digital images; it’s amazing to think Winogrand shot multiple times that number of negatives he never even looked at. (I also love how the endless rolls of film wore its own image into the pressure plate of his camera.)

The ‘10 Rules’ are pretty solid, too, although (#4) now that my latest (7th) digital camera includes an articulated LCD I almost never look through the viewfinder, yet still can control the framing. And (#5), it's my photo, and I’ll crop if I want to...
posted by LeLiLo at 11:58 AM on June 11, 2015

I can easily hit 500 non burst mode images in a days shooting. What I can't do is 500+ images every day 7/365. Truly I am in awe. And the expense!
posted by Mitheral at 3:14 PM on June 11, 2015

This Winogrand guy he's pretty good. I just want to know tho where does he go to take pictures? cuz when I try to do street photography all I end up with is pictures of poorly dressed people looking at their cell phones.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:56 PM on June 13, 2015

cuz when I try to do street photography all I end up with is pictures of poorly dressed people looking at their cell phones.

Hey, you can work with that!
posted by jason_steakums at 9:32 PM on June 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

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