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May 11
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Translating and sharing with you this beautiful italian article by Michele Smargiassi about Garry Winogrand. Source: smargiassi-michele.blogautore.…
Big thanks to Pete :iconmangawhio: for the proofreading :thanks: 

1x1.trans 10 Things Garry Winogrand Can Teach You About Street Photography

At the time of his unfortunate early death in 1984 at age 56, Winogrand left behind in his studio in Tijuana 2,500 rolls of undeveloped film, 6,500 rolls of developed but not proofed exposures (not made into contact sheets), and contact sheets made from about 3,000 rolls.

What to do with this quantity of images
, copyrighted but not authorized? Consider them as mere drafts, useful only to a philologist, or go through them hoping to find an unreleased masterpiece from one of the most destabilizing, unclassifiable, fascinating street photographers of our history?

1x1.trans 10 Things Garry Winogrand Can Teach You About Street Photography

But that's the problem with Winogrand, the word 'masterpiece' makes no sense with him. His compulsive, bulimic, exaggerated photographs did not end with a final aesthetically perfect product. He was the perfect anti-Cartier-Bresson. 

Of course, he published books, made exhibitions, so he had to choose, edit, distinguish, order and sequence his voracious collections of "Fragments from the Real World", as his discoverer defined them - the MoMa photographic guru John Szarkowski, who launched him in '67 in a famous exhibition which also showed the work of Diane Arbus and Lee Friedlander.

Also, to set up the big retrospective that the San Francisco MoMa dedicated to Winogrand, Leo Rubinfien had to pick his choices from the 'tremendous challenge' of Winogrand's immense photographic archive.

After all it seems there exists a direction, a project, or at least some recurrent themes, in his first works. He likes women (Women are Beautiful, 1975), cars, children, he hunts the incongruous, the grotesque in the daily Street Theatre of human relationships, he discovers ironic affinities between humans and animals (The Animals, 1969), he seems sometimes to lean toward the analysis of the social landscape (Public Relations, 1977), like he did in that striking snapshot of that long bench where all the young American society seems to gather together (image on top).

But whenever you try to define Winogrand's style, his aesthetics, his poetics, you will always go home with empty hands. Winogrand is not thematics or aesthetics, and even his stylistic provocations (leaning horizons, blurred foregrounds, chaotic compositions) had already been experimented a decade earlier by his big model, Robert Frank.

1x1.trans 10 Things Garry Winogrand Can Teach You About Street Photography

Winogrand doesn't photograph the world. He photographs the act of photographing the world. "I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed", says his most famous quote, so much quoted by photo amateurs, so little understood.

Winogrand threw himself in the world like an explorer in the jungle, like a fisherman in the ocean, he collected evidence, cast the net of his wide-angle Leica, brought home a gamebag full of things yet to be decoded, to be read.

1x1.trans 10 Things Garry Winogrand Can Teach You About Street Photography

Those who saw Winogrand in action, like his friend and explorations mate Joel Meyerowitz, describe him with amused affection: portly and sloppy, taciturn, almost rude, tireless walker of New York sidewalks, hunting bodies in actions, with a perceptive instinct, hungry and confident, conscious of his limit 'I know what I see, but what does it mean?".

For his detractors (like A.D. Coleman), Winogrand was only a tireless primate with camera enclosed, unaware, irresponsible, and uncaring, randomly snapping photos of anything, while his handler picked out the good stuff . But this is the reaction of someone used to considering photography a conscious effort to put the world into a form, through a reasoning look.

But photography allows also another approach to the world: the research of the water diviner, random, lead only by curiosity and without premeditation. 'I don't have anything to say in any picture. If I am lucky, I have something to learn'.

1x1.trans 10 Things Garry Winogrand Can Teach You About Street Photography

But the pioneer's fate is sometimes thankless. Winogrand lived his last years prey of a purchase wrath gone out of control. Hundreds of images every day (in the end they were almost 6 million) piled up in his laboratory, way more than what he could reasonably develop, print, look at.

1x1.trans 10 Things Garry Winogrand Can Teach You About Street Photography

The photography he had asked to explain him the world, overwhelmed him with the excess of photographable world. The chaos of the visible became an unsightly chaos, impossible to manage.

Twenty years on, maybe Winogrand experienced by craftsmen, on himself, the devastating effects of the thermonuclear fusion of the uncontrollable images that today, with billions of photos ready to overflow from the big belly of the Net, threaten to crush us also.

Add a Comment:
batmantoo Featured By Owner May 18, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
My first thought was the same as Doug's: "What if he had a digital camera?" ... my second thought was though: we would have discovered his gems postum much faster. I don't believe that if you shoot loads and loads there must be something good in the lot, purely based on statistics. If the photographer is talented this talent will show brilliantly every now and then in their photos.
Thank you Mary for the translation and feature! :)
djailledie Featured By Owner May 17, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
As my local library has not book about Winogrand, I wasn't aware of the amount of his photographic work. What shall I say? If he was in the mood for photographing 100 scenes everyday, it is fantastic for him, that means that he was able to keep eyes open all his life, which I admire: it takes so much energy that he must have had super powers. I know that some of his images are over the top IMO, but he was obviously not a moderate person, and of course, you can't expect anything else from somebody like that. 
Are the billions of images on the net killing street photography? No. See how much you get from browsing a photo book and how much you get from one hour on the net: the well selected images of the book still have much more impact.
JACAC Featured By Owner May 14, 2014
t h a n k . y o u . Mary =)
aaroffy Featured By Owner May 13, 2014
I always enjoy your journals, so informative,  thanks for translating for us :D
e-l-a-n-i Featured By Owner May 13, 2014
Thank you Mary!
I love his progressive photographic style and the quote 'I don't have anything to say in any picture. If I am lucky, I have something to learn'.
SUDOR Featured By Owner May 11, 2014
I love Garry !
myraincheck Featured By Owner May 12, 2014
As I wrote in Bassem's journal, to me you ARE dA's Winogrand!
SUDOR Featured By Owner May 12, 2014
TROP gentil....
DouglasHumphries Featured By Owner May 11, 2014
. . . fascinating !!  - thanks for sharing.
myraincheck Featured By Owner May 12, 2014
thank you for reading! 
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