It had to happen eventual. As we go through the masters of photography every week, at some point it was inevitable that Garry Winogrand would come up. This week, we’re looking at one of the key figures in Street photography, the sort of person who’s name is almost always at (or next to) the top of every street photographer’s favourite photographers list with Cartier-Bresson, Maier and Friedlander
Who Was Garry Winogrand
Garry Winogrand is known to some as the Godfather of street photography. Although Bresson is arguably the father of street photography, Winogrand had a huge impact and influenced many of the ideas that are common in modern street photography. For example, his presence can often be felt in the images where the subjects make eye contact with the camera.
He was one of the key figures in the New York street photography scene that helped make New York such an iconic location for street photography.
Although he is so closely associated with the idea of street photography, he actually hated the term street photographer and complained that
“I hate the term, I think it’s a stupid term, street photography. I don’t think it tells you anything about the photographer or work. On the subject, I have a book out called the animals. Call me the same I’m a zoo photographer. I mean it all really doesn’t make any sense to me, you know?”
This resonates we me a lot as I feel that the term street photography has become overused and doesn’t really accurately describe the genre it (mostly) represents. It’s no wonder that people describe all sorts of photos taken in the urban environment as street photos even if they don’t really match the classical definition of street photography.
- Vision and Images Interview with Garry Winogrand in 1981 [Video]
- 10 Things Garry Winogrand Can Teach You About Street Photography
- Garry Winogrand books [US Link] [UK link]
My Monday Photo Pick for Garry Winogrand
I choose this later picture of Winogrand’s. In it, there is a woman lying on the ground while those around go about their typical days, driving or eating in a restaurant. It’s impossible to tell how long she had been lying there, maybe seconds, maybe hours, but this image of no one helping certainly reflects something about Winogrand’s perspective on the world (or at least American). The image has aspects that should make it a “bad” image. It is out of focus in parts, it has lens blur, the horizon isn’t flat and worst of all there is bad separation with the Denny’s sign (I hope the sarcasm comes across on that last point).
Still, despite these defects it has strong emotion and the composition of the figures works to make the message it seeks to tell.
Join in with #MondayMasters
If you’d like to join in, all you need to do is find some inspiration from Garry Winogrand and share it with the hashtag #MondayMasters. Also keep an eye out for the next master next week.