Garry Winogrand. Essay

1543 words - 6 pages

Garry Winogrand was born in New York City in 1928; he became interested in photography in the late 1940's when he was in the United States Air Force. When he was done his term of duty, he went on to City College in New York City to study painting. A year later he went to Columbia University to study both painting and photography. There he met George Zimbel, a student and photographer for the Columbia Spectator, the university newspaper. Zimbel introduced Garry to the darkroom in the college, which was open twenty-four hours a day. This was the first time Garry had been exposed to the process of photography, and it amazed him. Within two weeks, he dropped his painting classes. Winogrand started off experimenting with Graphlex, Rolleicord, and Kodak 35, but had a better love for the Leica.He lived with his parents in the Bronx, during the two-year period when his photography didn't gain him any income. By the early 1950's Winogrand was taken on as a stringer (a freelance photographer) for the Pix agency, where his friend George Zimbel was also working.The people at Pix recommended Winogrand to the photographer representative Henrietta Brackman. Winogrand arrived at his interview with Brackman with four piles of prints that reached from floor to desktop. During the mid-fifties Collier's, Argosy, Pageant, Redbook, Men, Gentry, Climax and Sports Illustrated published Winogrand's pictures.Winogrand's work was still formed completely by his own insightful response to work in the magazines. He was uneducated in the history of photography and the history of much else. Photography was a kind of magic for which he had a taste and a talent. It is not clear that he ever then considered the question of whether it was useful.Late in 1955 Winogrand made his first independent excursion across the country, because of a vague sense that there were pictures to take out there. When Winogrand's friend found out about his adventure, he showed him Walker Evan's book American Photography, some one who Winogrand was not familiar with. When he looked at Evan's photos, he for the first time understood that photos had understanding and intelligence, other that just viewing pleasure.In the same year Robert Frank began a cross-country trip that produced the pictures for his enormously influential book The Americans. Winogrand once again did not know Frank's work, but like Evans's he was deeply impressed.In the early 1960's, Winogrand had begun to photograph women on the street. The subject remained a major preoccupation for several years. Winogrand's view on women was conceivably shocking, yet simple and enthusiastic. However awkward, Winogrand's pictures of women in public places mostly made during the sixties, wasn't published until 1975, as Women Are Beautiful. Winogrand thought his view of woman would be a commercial success, due to the rest of the male world. Too much of his disappointment, the book was not much of a success. In general, woman disliked the book and men...

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