Documentary: Garry Winogrand (1928–1984) – American photographer


Garry Winogrand (1928-1984) was a photographer, born in New York City. He was a proponent and practitioner of street photography. During his career he received three Guggenheim Fellowship Awards (1964, 1969, and 1979) and a National Endowment of the Arts Award in 1979. He made his first notable appearance in 1963 at an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City. This show included Minor White, George Krause, Jerome Liebling and Ken Heyman. In 1966 Winogrand exhibited at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY with Lee Friedlander, Duane Michals, Bruce Davidson, and Danny Lyon in an exhibition entitled “Toward a Social Landscape”. In 1967 he participated in a show called “New Documents”at MOMA with Diane Arbus and Lee Friedlander.

Garry studied painting at City College of New York and later studied painting and photography at Columbia University in New York City in 1948. He also attended a photojournalism class taught by Alexey Brodovitch at the New School for Social Research in New York City in 1951. Much later, he taught courses in photography at the [[University of Texas]], Austin and at the Art Institute of Chicago. His lessons were reportedly fondly remembered and deeply influential on his students.

Garry Winogrand was influenced by Walker Evans and Robert Frank and their respective publications ‘American Photographs’ and ‘The Americans’. Henri Cartier-Bresson was obviously another primal influence although stylistically different. Winogrand was never looking for a “pretty shot”. Anticipation and the timing of the taking of a photograph come into play in the work of all street photographers and Bresson was one of the first and best at this aspect of the art.

Winogrand was known for his portrayal of America in the early 1960s and his interest in social issues of the day and in the role of media in shaping attitudes. He roamed the streets of New York with his Leica rapidly taking photographs using a prefocused wide angle lens. Often his lens would be tilted, leaving his photographs with a slanted result.

His photographs in New York of the Bronx Zoo and the Coney Island Aquarium were used in his book The Animals (1969). In 1980 he photographed the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo which became another large thematic undertaking and book.

Winogrand died of gall bladder cancer, in 1984 at age 56, leaving behind nearly 300,000 unedited and in many cases undeveloped images. Some of these have been exhibited posthumously and published in an exhibit catalog entitled Winogrand, Fragments from the Real World published by MOMA.

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Video credited to original uploader Michael Engler

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