Garry Winogrand

October 29, 2009
Country Photography Workshop

Country Photography Workshop (click for bigger)
L to R: Winogrand, ?, Jill Grossman, Me, Bill Cottman, Mike Pretzer, Peter Gold

In 1973 I was fortunate enough to take a week-long workshop with Garry Winogrand. It was at the Country Photography Workshop in Woodman, Wisconsin. His point of view of what a photograph actually is, is bizarre, yet infinitely true. Light on surface. Period. We would go out shooting to the small towns in central Wisconsin, Prarie Du Chien, Dodgeville, Lancaster…come back and process our film and make prints, then critique the work after a family style country dinner. It was a great period of growth for me and the train ride there and back was an adventure in itself. When he died in 1984 Winogrand left behind thousands of rolls of undeveloped film, and thousands of unedited contact sheets. This 1982 interview with Bill Moyer offers some insight into the personality of the photographer and his views on what photography is and is not.

Here is the second part

5 Responses to “Garry Winogrand”

  1. graphicgreg Says:

    Here is an short commentary by Melissa Block on Helen Levitt

  2. graphicgreg Says:

    Here are a few words of wisdom of Winogrand from an article by Mason Resnick –

    “It is hard to break from our preconceptions about how something should look photographed. Let what you see determine where the edges of the photograph go. Forget your preconceptions about how to photograph something. A photograph, is the illusion of a literal description of how the camera saw a piece of time and space.”

    He never developed film right after shooting it. He deliberately waited a year or two, so he would have virtually no memory of the act of taking an individual photograph. This, he claimed made it easier for him to approach his contact sheets more critically. “If I was in a good mood when I was shooting one day, then developed the film right away,” he told us, “I might choose a picture becuase I remember how good I felt when I took it, not necessarily because it was a great shot. You make better choices if you approach your contact sheets cold, separating the editing from the picture taking as much as possible.”

  3. Greg Says:

    Here’s one more Winogrand tidbit…He did a Marilyn Monroe “Seven Year Itch” photo…with the upskirt. See here….

  4. Jill Grossman Says:

    That’s me third from the left in the Wisconsin workshop photo. I was trying to remember the name of the workshop and was delighted to find your post. I barely remember the workshop, but I certainly remember Gary and the young lady who came with him. I was so young, I though at first she was his daughter! Was the workshop really a week long? I remember it as being only a few days.

  5. graphicgreg Says:

    Nice to hear from you Jill !!! We are filling in the names. I heard from Peter Gold briefly. I’ll drop you a note.

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