He mostly photographed on the streets yet he was not a street photographer, well he did not consider himself as one. He photographed life, people, animals, anything that he found interesting. He was just a guy with a camera… Gary Winogrand is this Monday Master.
“Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed.” GW
Winogrand was for sure an interesting character. His voyeurism speaks of frustration, and occasionally of bitterness. His humour is often sad. It is street humour, universally critical, and sometimes cheap. There is no final meaning. It is pure, visual experience.
Winogrand rarely entered the worlds he photographed. He remained detached, alienated, left out. It is something that I’ve noticed I have been doing very often while shooting on streets. When I shoot with my DSLR, sometimes I even try to fiddle with it after and between shots like Winogrand did… and it does help, when you want you avoid the eye contact, fiddle with your camera and just move on. Here is a video which shows Winogrand in action:
If I keep looking at it, the subject matter ( everyone on the bench) look like a painting to me. The busy background in this case does not ruin the picture as it is all about what is happening across the frame. Winogrand did not care about making a beautiful image. What he put in the frame was all that mattered to him. He photographed women a lot, was hypnotized by their nature and energy, just like in this photo, I love the fact that every woman has her own gesture and yet we don’t really know what is going on. The black man on the left draws attention and we can only assume our own story whatever it may be…
Make sure you check out Gary Winogrand’s videos on youtube and there are a lot of helpful articles and interviews on the photographer online if you want to dig deeper into his mindset and workflow.
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