Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Winogrand 1964

For four months in 1964, Gary Winogrand drove across the US, photographing wherever he went:

...New York photographer Garry Winogrand traveled across the country in a Ford Fairlane to discover "who we are." The Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy's assassination and the looming threat of war in Vietnam had persuaded him to pursue art full-time. As he remarked: "You have to realize you're nothing before you can be free." During his four-month journey, Winogrand took nearly 20,000 photographs (although he passed through 14 states, he spent half of his time in Texas and California). When he returned to New York, he printed 1,000 of the images. Some of these resulting works are widely known, but the majority have never been exhibited.

...Winogrand, whose trip was sponsored by a Guggenheim grant, said in his application: " I look at the pictures I have done up to now, and they make me feel that who we are and how we feel and what is to become of us just doesn't matter. Our aspirations and successes have been cheap and petty. I read the newspapers, the columnists, some books, I look at some magazines [our press]. They all deal in illusions and fantasies. I can only conclude that we have lost ourselves, and that the bomb may finish the job permanently, and it just doesn't matter, we have not loved life. . . I cannot accept my conclusions, and so I must continue this photographic investigation further and deeper. This is my project." (from Artnet)

I'm not a huge huge fan of Winogrand (the volume just overwhelms me sometimes), but the theme of the journey and the thread of year holds this project together better than some other collections. And so many of the photographs are just incomparable.

(It was unfortunate that Arena Editions went bust - they produced a number of books which were not only very nicely made, but they also made some intriguing choices of what to publish. Another good book by them is Walker Evans: The Lost Work.)


Stan B. said...

For all his inumerable B&W triumphs, whenever I think of Winogrand now, I think of that incredible color landscape first.

Joe Reifer said...

Unfortunately this book is $350-450 now!

tim atherton said...

dang - I had a spare copy and sold it on ebay about a year ago for about $70.00... :-(