About the Photographer
A native New Yorker, Garry Winogrand became known for his street photography blending documentary and photojournalist styles and freezing his subjects in spontaneous and bizarre moments. Winogrand typically used a wide-angle lens mounted on a Leica 35mm camera and photographed prolifically, leaving 2,500 rolls of shot but undeveloped film and 300,000 unedited images upon his death. The tilted horizon and feeling of chaos in his images belie his careful compositions concerned with capturing surface detail and energy. Winogrand believed that the act of framing and photographing something transformed it. His images are often confrontational and take moments out of context, positioning Winogrand as an outside observer of human gestures and actions.
Among Winogrand’s favorite subjects were women, and he described himself as being “compulsively interested in women” and having “compulsively photographed women.” A large part of Winogrand’s images in the collection of the MoCP form part of the Women are Beautiful portfolio (1981), which was initially published as a monograph in 1975. For the monograph, John Szarkowski, curator of photography at The Museum of Modern Art in New York at the time, selected eighty-five images featuring women from hundreds of photographs by Winogrand. The resulting book offers a random collection of women caught on the street, in parks, getting into cars, at parties, marching in parades, skinny-dipping in ponds, etc. The images capture not only Winogrand’s attraction to the women he photographed, but also the styles, activities, gestures, and energies pertaining to gender in the 1960s and 1970s, an era of transition during second-wave feminism and the sexual revolution. In the monograph and in the portfolio, Winogrand wrote: “Whenever I’ve seen an attractive woman, I’ve done my best to photograph her. I don’t know if all the women in the photographs are beautiful, but I do know that the women are beautiful in the photographs.”
Garry Winogrand was born in 1928 in New York. He studied painting at the City College of New York; painting and photography at Columbia University; and photojournalism with Alexey Brodovitch at The New School for Social Research. He was a freelance photojournalist throughout the 1950s and 1960s for such publications as Life, Sports Illustrated, Look, and Fortune. He taught briefly at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago (1971-1972), and at the University of Texas at Austin (1973-1978). Winogrand received Guggenheim Fellowships in 1964, 1969, and 1979, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1975. Monographs include The Animals (1968, 2004); Women are Beautiful (1975); Public Relations (1977, 2004); Stock Photographs: The Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo (1980); Winogrand: Figments from the Real World (1988, 2003); The Man in the Crowd: The Uneasy Streets of Garry Winogrand (1999); The Game of Photography (2001); and Arrivals and Departures: Airport Pictures (2009). Winogrand’s archive resides at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
Winogrand’s photographs were exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York on numerous occasions, including: Family of Man (1955); Five Unrelated Photographers: Heyman, Krause, Liebling, White, and Winogrand (1963); New Documents (with Diane Arbus and Lee Friedlander, 1967); Garry Winogrand: The Animals (1969-1970); Public Relations (solo, 1977); and Garry Winogrand (1988). Many of these exhibitions were organized by John Szarkowski, curator of photography at the MoMA, 1962-1991. The 1988 retrospective traveled to the Art Institute of Chicago; the Carnegie Mellon University Art Gallery, Pittsburgh; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery, University of Texas, Austin; and the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson.