Saturday, March 24, 2007

Winogrand at work - the movie

Okay, it's only about a ten minute segment, but Michael David Murphy has a movie up of Gary Winogrand at work on Bill Moyers/PBS in 1982 (Note: right click and save is probably best - it's about 26mb).

It's quite incredible watching him and listening to him at work. It's a bit like watching Beethoven compose or Einstein busy calculating - as commented over on the Streetphoto List, this is the Zapruder film of SP...

There is also a transcript up - a couple of quotes:

A picture is about what’s photographed and how that exists in the photograph - so that’s what we’re talking about. What can happen in a frame? Because photographing something changes it. It’s interesting, I don’t have to have any storytelling responsibility to what I’m photographing. I have a responsibility to describe well...

The fact that photographs — they’re mute, they don’t have any narrative ability at all. You know what something looks like, but you don’t know what’s happening, you don’t know whether the hat’s being held or is it being put on her head or taken off her head. From the photograph, you don’t know that. A piece of time and space is well described. But not what is happening.

I think that there isn’t a photograph in the world that has any narrative ability. Any of ‘em. They do not tell stories - they show you what something looks like. To a camera. The minute you relate this thing to what was photographed — it’s a lie. It’s two-dimensional. It’s the illusion of literal description. The thing has to be complete in the frame, whether you have the narrative information or not. It has to be complete in the frame. It’s a picture problem. It’s part of what makes things interesting...

And wait until you see his filing system

(MP4 file here and wmv file here )

(Thanks for this David)


stanco said...

Amazing how his seemingly nonchalant work demeanor betrays the absolute intensity of his vision- as clearly manifested in that vision of heaven, hell and LA!

sexy said...