Most people who walk through a city ignore it – or, more precisely, ignore the other people in it. Garry Winogrand did the absolute opposite: he spent most of his walking life hunting down his fellow citizens, watching, looking, and photographing: thousands upon thousands of photographs. He also made pictures at museum openings, at the zoo, at airports and rodeos, but it was the streets of Manhatten which provided the central metaphor of his work.
Winogrand’s photography defines an American decade, the 1960s, in a way comparable to Robert Frank in the 1950s and Walker Evans in the 1930s. Winogrand himself – large, energetic, voyeuristic, obsessively curious about the world around him – represents, for many, the archetypal street photographer. The formal turbulence of his images with their dynamic tilted viewpoints, their grainy immediacy, their frenetic crowds and their temporarily isolated strangers, matches the political turbulence of the Vietnam years and provides a defining portrait of a society caught unawares.
I never shoot without using the viewfinder—Oh, yes, there’ll be a few times,—I may have to hold the camera up over my head because for just physical reasons, but very rarely does that ever work.
Winogrand ‘s work synthesizes the documentary and photojournalist traditions. Influenced by Robert Frank’s The Americans, he employed a wide angle lens on a handheld camera, and shot from an intimate distance. This enabled him to incorporate more of his subjects, and gave his images an unfamiliar, compositional complexity. He took shots, he said, “to see how things would look as photographs”. The medium of still photography he described as “the illusion of a literal description of how a camera saw a piece of time and space”.
I also found this great post, worth checking out.
10 Things Garry Winogrand Can Teach You About Street Photography