Garry Winogrand

 
Garry Winogrand is a legend in the world of street photography. Passerbuys was born on sidewalks, observing the people surrounding us. It seemed only fitting to profile a photographer whose work captured that very essence.

One of the pillars that Passerbuys stands on is the recognition of the beauty that we pass bay every day. This series will pay homage to photographers - both past and present - whose work has left us with documents of a time and place. So begins, the History of Street Style. Winogrand was a New Yorker born and raised. Throughout the mid-twentieth century he created cultural and sociopolitical work. Though much of his work is set in his home city, the prolific photographer - over 10,000 undeveloped rolls of film were found in his home after his death - created work on both the left and right coast. Winogrand worked as a freelance photographer at the beginning of his career until two of his pieces were featured in the iconic Family of Man exhibit.

Coney Island, New York, 1952, by Garry Winogrand from the Family of Man exhibition Illustration: Garry Winogrand/Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco Image courtesy of The Guardian

Coney Island, New York, 1952, by Garry Winogrand from the Family of Man exhibition Illustration: Garry Winogrand/Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Image courtesy of The Guardian

Now, the Family of Man exhibit could take up an article of its own right, but here's a brief synopsis. Family of Man was a photography exhibit - one of the first - in NYC's MoMa. It was curated by legendary photographer Edward Steichen, who at the time was also Head of Photography at the MoMa. It's socially significant for a couple of reasons — first it's timing, which was right after the second world war. Second, the nature of it's content,  the works exhibited came from  273 photographers from 68 different countries. Winogrand's works stood among these 500-something pieces as a testament to visual culture in New York City. This subject-matter and aesthetic became a recurring theme in his work. 

Winogrand was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship on three different occasions and is largely regarded as one of the most important figures in 20th century photography. His work is a testament to photographies ability to transform a benign moment into a film-like scene. He infused the everyday with a sense of glamour and consequence. Women became a force toward which Winogrand gravitated — which, as we know, is pretty standard. It was the diversity of the women he captured, however, that is so compelling. He equalizes the young fresh faced with the elderly by infusing the photos with, as he puts it, "mystery". His style sparks curiosity in what is generally considered to be banal. Today, thousands of negatives remain undeveloped and unseen. In past years, retrospectives have appeared on occasion, exhibiting works that have resulted in his being labeled as 'one of the greats'. We can only hope that one day someone will take on the project of developing, knowing what we know of Winogrand, we'd bet even his outtakes are showstoppers.  


Words by Katy Hallowell