Suggested Research – Garry Winogrand

Garry Winogrand was the complete opposite of William Eggleston. Ignore the B&W over colour debate, Winogrand’s philosophy was shoot everything, shoot lots, Egglestone’s was…pfft if you don’t get it the first time then don’t bother, the first one is the picture.

Winogrand was a prolific photographer, never sat still, fidgeted when he did and on the whole was always out on the streets he died at the age of 56… (thank you Eric Kim for your amazing website full of info)

(Left behind at his death)

2,500 undeveloped film = 90,000 photos
6,500 developed (but not contact sheets) = 234,000 photos
3,000 contact sheets = 108,000 photos
Total: 432,000 photos

(In Winogrand’s Archive)

20,000 contact sheets = 720,000 photos
100,000 negatives = 3,600,000 photos
30,500 color slides = 1,098,000 photos
Total: 5,418,000 photos

If you have the time some great videos are here




He cites Walker Evans and Robert Frank as his inspiration. Using a 28mm lens he always got in close , used his view finder and never shot from the hip. Like Cartier-Bresson he tried to use what was in frame and not crop . He did experiment with 21mm, 28mm, and 35mm, but shot mostly with a 28mm.

Despite not shooting from the hip his images reveal’ amazing lack of adherence to any rules of composition. Like the streets below, the images were filled with people in motion. There was a precarious, dynamic balance between humor and loneliness in the odd angles–an unfamiliar but powerful combination.’

I fully understand his comments about being emotionally attached to a photograph and including it in a set because of what it means to us as the author rather than the message or feeling it tries to convey…shame we don’t have time to ignore our assignment shots for 2 years before coming back to them!

Winogrand also was a great believer in being inspired by others, not only would he would reel off other photographers to look at but also hoped that people would be inspired by other things.

Reading and music and painting and sculpture and other stuff. Basketball, baseball, hockey, etc. Certainly, you know, you can always learn from some—from somebody else’s—from some intelligence. I think. I hope.

Some other facts that I love, he often shot with Joel Meyerowitz (swoon) and Tod Papageorge. 

and linking to the James Curtis FSA comments about companion photographs:


Again thank you to Eric Kim for list of quotes that Garry Winogrand is famous for:

“Photos have no narrative content. They only describe light on surface.”
“Photographers mistake the emotion they feel while taking the picture as judgment that the photograph is good.”
“Great photography is always on the edge of failure.”
“Every photograph is a battle of form versus content.”
“I photograph to see what the world looks like in photographs.”
“I like to think of photographing as a two-way act of respect. Respect for the medium, by letting it do what it does best, describe. And respect for the subject, by describing as it is. A photograph must be responsible to both.”
“I don’t have anything to say in any picture. My only interest in photography is to see what something looks like as a photograph. I have no preconceptions.”
“There is no special way a photograph should look.”

I was absolutely delighted to see some of his images up close and personal at the Pace Gallery last year. So, in summary he had a much more relaxed way of capturing his images, no tripod, no set up, no pre-conceptions of what he would capture, thought about composition and framing but wasn’t bothered with straight horizons of crooked shop fronts, it was the form and content he was after not the presentation. Might come in handy with assignment two.




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