Garry Winogrand

posted by Bridget on 26 July 2013

A new book edited by Leo Rubinfien attempts to make sense of Winogrand's prolific archive of photographs

For Garry Winogrand there was nothing more to a photograph than the scene and its surface. He rejected ideas of meaning and depth claiming that photographs can't tell stories, they can only show you what the camera saw. As he famously said "I photograph to find out what something will look like when photographed".

But this nonchalant attitude belies the talent and skill of the photographer himself and mistrusts our ability to judge why some photographs and photographers are better than others.

Millions of people take photographs everyday. We can see them on blogs, flickr, facebook. They exist in these digital archives, unedited and random. The volume is staggering and Erik Kessels installation of 24 hours of flickr is a visual testament to society's need to record events photographically. But they are an undigestable stream of images, difficult to access in any really meaningful way.

Winogrand took thousands of photographs. When he died in 1984, he left over 35,000 prints, 22,000 contact sheets and over 6,500 unprocessed rolls of film. His output was impressive in numbers.

But to access so many photographs in any really meaningful way they must be edited, given a context and presented with some structure. It is through this selection process that the photograph begins to have a meaning that is more than simply what the camera saw. They take on a resonance which collectively tells us about the streetlife of America in the 1960s and 70s. And they tell us what Winogrand was looking at and so reveal something about the photographer himself.

Click on the image to see more photographs, click here to read Kate Hooper's blog post about Winogrand and watch a youtube interview.

garry winogrand

Comments

  • what a wonderful photographer he was... brilliant and still fresh imagery even now... we all have lots to learn from this man.
    www.markboltonphotography.co.uk

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