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S33 Ep6

Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable

Premiere: 4/19/2019 | 00:01:58 |

Discover the life and work of Garry Winogrand, the epic storyteller in pictures who harnessed the serendipity of the streets to capture the American 1960s-70s. His “snapshot aesthetic” is now the universal language of contemporary image making.



About the Episode

Decades before digital technology transformed how we make and see pictures, Garry Winogrand made over 1 million of them with his 35mm Leica camera, creating an encyclopedic portrait of America from the late 1950s to the early 1980s in the process. When he died suddenly at age 56, Winogrand left behind more than 10,000 rolls of film – more than a quarter of a million pictures. These images capture a bygone era: the New York of Mad Men, the early years of the Women’s Movement, the birth of American suburbs and the glamour and alienation of Hollywood. He produced so many unseen images that it has taken until now for the full measure of his artistic legacy to emerge. Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable is the first cinematic survey of that legacy. With unprecedented access to Winogrand’s estate and the cooperation of his gallery, the film tells the story of an artist whose rise and fall was – like America’s in the late decades of the 20th century – larger-than-life, full of contradictions and totally unresolved.

In addition to hundreds of iconic photographs, filmmaker Sasha Waters Freyer makes ample use of Winogrand’s previously unseen 8mm color home movies of his parents, three wives and children, plus the wealth of footage created as he roamed city streets and attended 1960s protests. The film also features newly discovered audio cassette tapes of Winogrand, which are the only un-staged media of the artist in existence. These cassette tapes capture conversations with an old friend, recorded in a forgotten Texas diner, about ex-wives, parents, children, sex, students, and the meaning and making of art. Following his first solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1969, Winogrand’s work has since been exhibited at museums and galleries across the country and around the world.  Through his own words and images, Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable presents an intimate portrait of a man who both personified his era and transformed it.


Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable is produced, directed and edited by Sasha Waters Freyer. Executive Producers are David Koh, Alice Koh, and Dan Braun. Eddie Marritz is the Director of Photography. Original music is by Ethan Winogrand. Animation is by Kelly Gallagher. Michael Kantor is American Masters series executive producer.

About American Masters
Launched in 1986 on PBS, American Masters has earned 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 14 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards, and many other honors. To further explore the lives and works of masters past and present, American Masters offers streaming video of select films, outtakes, filmmaker interviews, the American Masters Podcast, educational resources and more. The series is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and also seen on the WORLD channel. The series is available for streaming simultaneously on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video app, which is available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members can view episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details).

About The WNET Group
The WNET Group creates inspiring media content and meaningful experiences for diverse audiences nationwide. It is the community-supported home of New York’s THIRTEEN – America’s flagship PBS station – WLIW21, THIRTEEN PBSKids, WLIW World and Create; NJ PBS, New Jersey’s statewide public television network; Long Island’s only NPR station WLIW-FM; ALL ARTS, the arts and culture media provider; and newsroom NJ Spotlight News. Through these channels and streaming platforms, The WNET Group brings arts, culture, education, news, documentary, entertainment and DIY programming to more than five million viewers each month. The WNET Group’s award-winning productions include signature PBS series Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend and Amanpour and Company and trusted local news programs MetroFocus and NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi. Inspiring curiosity and nurturing dreams, The WNET Group’s award-winning Kids’ Media and Education team produces the PBS KIDS series Cyberchase, interactive Mission US history games, and resources for families, teachers and caregivers. A leading nonprofit public media producer for nearly 60 years, The WNET Group presents and distributes content that fosters lifelong learning, including multiplatform initiatives addressing poverty, jobs, economic opportunity, social justice, understanding and the environment. Through Passport, station members can stream new and archival programming anytime, anywhere. The WNET Group represents the best in public media. Join us.


Support for Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable is provided by Derek Freese Film Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Support for American Masters is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, AARP, Rosalind P. Walter, Judith & Burton Resnick, The Cheryl & Philip Milstein family, Vital Projects Fund, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Seton J. Melvin, Philip & Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen & James S. Marcus, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, The Ambrose Monell Foundation and public television viewers.


♪♪♪ O0 C1 -Well, what is a photograph?

-I don't know. You tell me what they meant for you.

-Well, I'll tell you -- I'll tell you what a photograph is.

It's the illusion of a literal description of how a camera saw a piece of time and space.

Consider this. What does a camera do?

What does photography do better than anything else?

What -- Describe.

To use it for anything else is rather foolish.

It's important to understand what a thing is.

Because if you go to the fruit store and you ask for apples, and they give you bananas, good luck.

You've seen enough corruption of language, I think.

That's why you get the politicians you get in office.

When you go to the restaurant, you ask for eggs, and you get a hamburger, how do you feel?

Because that's what it can come to.

That's why every time a politician says the word 'peace,' you know they're talking about soldiers moving.

When they talk about -- when they use the word 'peace.'

You should learn to call a thing what it is.

♪♪♪ -Garry Winogrand was one of the principal American photographers of his generation.

-He was a true poet of photography.

A true poet of American life.

-He took this genre of so-called street photography and turned it on its head and made it something new.

-This guy shot over a million photographs in his lifetime, which is absolutely phenomenal when you stop and think about that.

-Winogrand was controversial in his time and even remains so.

-One of the things that's always really fascinated me about him is that he died with thousands of rolls of undeveloped film.

What could that be?

-Famously, there's a lot of nothing.

There's a lot of pictures of nothing, but I discovered things in that nothing that people didn't know and still don't know.

♪♪♪ You know, the whole thing is like -- I would like not to exist.

Does that make sense to you at all?

♪♪♪ In the end, all I can do is rest a little.

Whatever comes out, that's the way I have to express it.

I would like not to exist.

I'm not speaking in mysteries, and I'm not talking about suicide or anything.

I'd just as soon not exist.

♪♪♪ -I think Garry was trying something really radical.

Do you think he was joking when he said, 'It's the closest I get to not existing'? He kept letting go.

-He saw no other possibility for himself.

This is what saved him from a totally anarchic life.

-I have moved -- Somebody once told me they watched me photograph, that I have moves like a basketball player.

I never thought about it, but it's probably true.

I can do the turnaround jumper. You know?

[ Laughter ] -One of the things I love about Winogrand is the dance, or the dance, and you guys might say.

But if you look at a Winogrand picture, he -- In a lot of the photographs, he gets the legs, and you look through this picture, and look at the dance here.

Look at the dance here. And then we'll keep on going.

You just -- Look at the dance here, okay?

Look at the dance here. Look at the dance here.

Dancing. Everyone's dancing.

I mean, one of the things that he really looked at, as far as the body is concerned, he went from top to bottom.

He could find the great faces.

He could find the great hand gestures.

He's getting everything.

As far as how a body moves, he can capture it, and I don't think there's anyone that does that like him.

And I think just the physicality, that's really difficult.

Garry was the frame.

-You know, you say to yourself, well, what if you lived in Vienna in 1785 and you knew this guy Wolfgang Mozart, how would he separate himself from the other people?

Would you know how singular he was?

And probably in many cases, the answer would have been no.

And that's what I feel about Garry, that he was that totally remarkable.

He wants to state the question, and the pure question is, what is photography?

♪♪♪ -After the IRT Subway Line was built up the East Side of Manhattan and across the river into the Bronx, the Bronx very quickly became the second-largest Jewish city in the world.

The generation of young people who grew up in the Bronx were very often the children of immigrants.

Winogrand was one of these.

It was an extraordinary journey that that generation took because they started with very little, for the most part, and came an enormous distance in a very short period of time.

-I call them the nose-job generation, and they are enjoying the benefits of assimilation, but they cannot assimilate.

And they are torn because they are also suffering a level of discrimination that people have completely forgotten about.

You know, Jews are white, as are Italians, and so -- and Irish people, so it's hard for us to imagine how you could even single them out.

-Because he had a Bronx accent and he was very physical and there are stories about him getting into fistfights and stuff like that.

So there was a sense that he was, you know, this tough-guy New Yorker.

-He had had an ulcer when he went into the Army, and that's why he got a medical discharge, was because he had an ulcer.

It wasn't from me.

It was from, you know -- It was from his life with his mother.

I hadn't met him yet.

We had our stuff, Bertha and I, but she comes from another world.

She worked as a seamstress, sewing ties.

And his father was this incredibly brilliant designer of bags.

Abe was a really dear, very lovely, wonderful person.

That's where Garry -- [ Laughs ] I think that's where Garry got his love from and his love for children, because his dad adored him.

You know. [ Chuckles ] What can I say?

Garry is driven because his mother was driven.

She was a driven, driven person.

♪♪♪ -Can one waitress carry everything you ordered?

-[ Laughs ] Anyway...growing up.

In the years I lived in my mother's house.

'Cause that's what she was, a force.

-Your mother was very strong, next to your father.

-Yeah, it's interesting.

You see, my mother -- It's a classic thing with my father, what she got going.

My father is very much his own man.

You can't bull him around. -No.

-I think except -- The only area that my father is not assertive is probably sex.

You know, my father, he runs the house, you know?

It's the way he wants it.

As a matter of fact, when he's at home, you don't know -- you couldn't imagine that he could do anything for himself.

Where he works, he's extremely independent.

I've seen him throw his boss out of the factory.

-You saw what?

-I've seen him throw his boss out of the factory.

-I see where you get it from.

-Like Socrates said, 'Know thyself.'

-[ Laughs ] -But it's true.

I've never really made a decision.

I didn't even decide to be a photographer.

Did you know that? -How did you start?

-I just started. I had a camera.

Cameras interested me. You know?

And then I was -- I was studying painting at Columbia, and they had a camera club.

It turned out the dark room was available 24 hours a day, so I went there.

-It's hard to imagine you a painter.

-It's hard for me to imagine it also.

Within two or three weeks of finding out about the camera club, somebody showed me how to operate the enlarger.

I never saw anybody do it.

Somebody just showed me what to do.

Within a couple of weeks, I never painted again.

That's all I ever did.

-Here you go. -Thank you.

-And your ice cream's coming out.

♪♪♪ -One of my favorite pictures is a photograph from 1950 of a sailor walking alone.

It's a very hard photograph to make, in my opinion, where you have a lone figure in the picture plane, so they have to be exactly in the right place.

They can't be too far forward. They can't be too far back.

The understanding, the sort of existential understanding and how the photograph acts as this symbol of our aloneness in the world is profound.

I mean, it's just beautiful.

-He really was sort of a philosopher about what photography is at its core.

And his work is a manifestation of that.

I remember him, for example, talking about the difficulty of making a picture where the people inside the photograph are looking at something outside the edge of the picture, something that we can't see.

And he used as a model of that, actually his great photograph of the people looking at the eclipse.

He admired that picture very much.

And then I think he took it, whether consciously or not, as a personal challenge himself.

-We certainly talked about the photographers he admired and who he was influenced by.

At the top of the list, unsurprisingly, was Robert Frank and his book 'The Americans.'

-'The Americans,' it's almost an instruction manual on how to use and not use the camera properly.

There's out of focus. There's loose.

And I think Winogrand really took a lot of that to heart and used a lot of that.

-I particularly remember him talking about the picture made in Baton Rouge.

The great Robert Frank of the black preacher on the river bank with the cross, and it's tilted.

That photograph had an enormous impact on Garry.

-I think the primary difference between Frank and Winogrand is that Frank was a foreigner, and he felt a distance from his subjects.

Winogrand was an American, and he can be extremely tough and is surfacing a lot of things that are not right with America.

But it's from the perspective of somebody who's in it rather than outside of it.

-The other photographer would be Walker Evans.

Garry looked at Evans, and what he saw was the pure energy that's contained in absolute photographic description, which is the style of the naked fact, the 'is-ness' of things.

It had to do with an almost philosophical attitude about photography as a medium.

But before it's anything else, it's lens description, and that's what he learned from Evans.

-The person who really, more than anyone else, filled the role of a sort of mentor for Winogrand was a photographer older than he called Dan Weiner.

And Dan Weiner died suddenly in a plane crash in 1959.

♪♪♪ -Garry always used to photograph airports 'cause he was superstitious about that.

He would -- Whenever he took a flight, he would photograph at the airport.

♪♪♪ -Winogrand kept photographing people carrying lots of luggage, and now when we're talking about people psychologically having issues, we say, 'Yeah, you know, oh, they've got some baggage.'

And I think that is one of the things that so manifested in Winogrand.

Yeah, we see the baggage these people are carrying.

♪♪♪ The psychogestural ballet that's going on there is just extraordinary.

♪♪♪ -He was a city hick from the Bronx whom the winds of fate brought to photojournalism.

One way of considering the career of Garry Winogrand is to see him as one who began as a photojournalist and who gradually learned to direct the very limited tools of that craft for radically independent and personal goals.

-This is a really important factor of the time Garry was alive, and that is that when Garry was a young person, the only thing you could do as a photographer was to be a photojournalist.

That was your option.

-At the moment when Winogrand began photographing, photography was disseminated through large picture magazines, mass-circulation magazines like 'Life' magazine and 'Look' magazine and so forth.

And the great majority of photographers either went to work or hoped to go to work for those magazines, Winogrand among them.

He worked for the first decade of his career as essentially a stringer or freelancer for a number of magazines.

Very rarely the top end.

Nonetheless, the enterprise was essentially one of illustrating written stories.

Winogrand felt that this role of illustrator, that if you accepted this role, you would be blocked, that the poetry of the photograph, its ambiguity, the uncertainty that we feel, the magazines didn't want any of that.

-♪ The wayward wind ♪ ♪ Is a restless wind ♪ ♪ A restless wind ♪ ♪ That yearns to wander ♪ ♪ And he was born ♪ ♪ The next of kin ♪ ♪ The next of kin ♪ ♪ To the wayward wind ♪ ♪ In a lonely shack by a railroad track ♪ ♪ He spent his younger days ♪ ♪ And I guess the sound of the outward bound ♪ ♪ Made him a slave to his wandering ways ♪ ♪ And the wayward wind... ♪ -When he didn't have jobs, he was just photographing whatever he came across out on the street or wherever he happened to be.

And I think that he started to see the potential of photography for something else, other than illustrating stories.

This picture doesn't tell you anything, really.

Obviously, something terrible has happened, but we don't know if this man survived.

We don't know if he has any relationship to this child.

This picture makes chaos visible, and that's what I think he was an absolute master at, and that's what I love about his work.

The best ones are just riding right on the razor's edge of just completely falling apart.

-Winogrand came to feel quite alienated from the culture of the magazines.

Not only alienated. He came to feel defiant.

He felt that that world represented values that were fraudulent.

-But you know, what I started doing is, I had just -- I had gone about six months of being extremely busy.

I got to the point where I was wishing that I had an art director who had a personality like Hitler, but he'd be intelligent.

Because all of them were very nice and stupid, and you got to be a Jewish mother.

-What would your ideal solution be?

-What do you mean? There is no solution.

All you do is state a problem, and that's the problem you state.

One way or the other.

-What's the problem? -The contest -- The contest between content and form.

That's the problem you state.

The solutions wind up as ads.

-The who? -That's what advertising is.

You solve a problem in advertising.

And I don't care what you do.

You're sculpting, you're painting.

It's always -- The problem's always the same.

The problem of the artist is to state the problem.

-Winogrand's career formed apart of a dramatic transition in the world of photography away from journalism and toward the world of the fine arts.

Sometime between 1955 and 1960, he came to reject magazine work as a way of life, even though he had no clear idea of how he would move out of it or where he would move to.

-I don't even know the chronology when he decided to become an artist and not -- I think it's after I left, he was able to do that.

And now he's gonna be an artist, and he's not gonna do jobs.

-By all accounts, the apartment was a mess.

It was filled up to the rafters with prints and cigarettes and coffee and crap and cameras.

And the guy was pretty much the same thing.

He'd roll out the house, pick up the camera.

He was loose. He was messy. But also very vulnerable.

And the style that he shot in was very much a self-portrait.

-His investigations of the medium conducted out on the street, conducted speculatively.

They were an extension of his own personal life being conducted speculatively from day to day, not knowing from one to the next who he'd be with, what he'd be eating, all the rest of it, whether he'd see his kids.

♪♪♪ -I thought about it. I talked to my friends.

They said, 'Oh, yeah, how old is he?'

He's -- He's an older man. [ Laughs ] He was, like, 21, right?

21 in those days was an older man, really.

I was 15 1/2, you know? What did I know?

He asked me when I was 16 to marry me.

I had no decision-making. I had nothing about my life.

Garry made decisions.

I don't even want to say it.

It wasn't like I loved him.

He loved me so much.

He gave me all his attention, but he gave me attention in the way he needed it and the way he wanted it.

The minute we got married, his mom and he had us move from that little apartment we started with to the building where his mother lived.

That should have been, you know -- Maybe that was one.

-I mean, Garry was a very dominating personality.

I mean, he would be, with anyone.

At the same time, there's Garry, who's making the meals while Adrienne has dance class or is teaching dance or is in a theater production.

So I think he shared the responsibilities of the household.

-Garry begged me to get pregnant.

Oh, I want to tell you, he wanted kids.

He -- He -- Really, talk about, like, a train that doesn't stop coming and coming and coming and coming.

He wanted kids.

This was a time when Garry had his heart on his sleeve.

Okay? This was a time when Garry could feel.

He had his feelings, and he wasn't obsessed again.

-Adrienne, for years, at times I felt she didn't really want to marry me.

She'd want to have arguments and stuff, you know?

You know, one thing I got to hand to her, even in the worst, she never used the kids as a weapon.

Never did anything like that.

I never thought I was attractive until my second wife.

She said -- made it clear to me that I was an attractive man.

I never thought of myself that way, either way.

Whatever it is, I'm not pretty, certainly.

-You've never been pretty, even as a child.

[ Laughter ] -He says, 'Of course. Why don't you want to?'

-I can't imagine getting into a conversation like that.

Do you know?

-Yeah, I know. -Who talks about it? I grab.

-Sometimes they don't grab back, and you ask, 'Why?'

-Then you convince 'em. With the other hand.

-Would you like some coffee?

-Yeah, you can warm that up. Thank you.

-He was a product of his times.

He was a man of his time.

So it's an idea about being a man that was pretty clear.

[ The Spencer Davis Group's 'I'm a Man' plays ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -♪ Well, my pad is very messy ♪ ♪ And there's whiskers on my chin ♪ ♪ And I'm all hung up on music ♪ ♪ And I always play to win ♪ ♪ I ain't got no time for lovin' ♪ ♪ 'Cause my time is all used up ♪ ♪ Just to sit around creatin' ♪ ♪ All that groovy kind of stuff ♪ ♪ But I'm a man ♪ ♪ Yes, I am, but I can't help but love you so ♪ ♪ But I'm a man ♪ ♪ Yes, I am, and I can't help but love you so ♪ -Let's look at Winogrand's marvelous photographs, one of his finest, of three young women coming down Hollywood Boulevard.

The sun is blasting behind them.

Over on the left is a young, crippled man in a wheelchair with his head hanging down.

And over on the right is a Chinese matron with a young boy.

What is going on here?

Here are three toothsome young woman.

I won't say that they're beauties, but they're sexy, and they're noticing this crippled youth.

They come out of a world of light.

It's as if they've descended out of the sun, and he's over there in the shadow, and he can't even see them.

His head is hanging down.

All he can see is his little bowl of coins.

This opposition between the world of light and the world of darkness -- the world of having and not having -- the world of freedom, the world of inevitability -- this opposition is clear enough in the picture.

Does it have a conclusion? Absolutely not.

Does it have a source?

Abso-- Why did this happen?

-Things like this, I don't have a magic finger.

You know what I mean?

I was in the viewfinder, in other words.

Something interested me about them, and then this happened.

And I was all ready.

I'm trying to make the point, you're working at it, and you have a shot.

It's not lightning striking. It's part of a process.

-Garry had told me something that was very important to me as an artist.

He told me that a lot of photographers don't realize their own potential because they're waiting for someone to tell them to go take a photograph.

And at that time, I was a struggling commercial photographer, so I wasn't shooting a lot because I was literally waiting for assignments and just not getting a lot of work done.

And it was, you know, kind of depressing.

And so after he told me that, I started shooting every day.

I always sort of attribute Garry as that lesson as an artist.

-This is Garry Winogrand. St. Thomas Church.

Right at 53rd Street. Photographing John Szarkowski.

-John Szarkowski called you the central photographer of your generation.

It's very high praise.

-Right. It is. -But also an enormous burden.

-No, no problem at all. -No? Not at all?

-No. You know, what does it got to do with working?

When I'm photographing, I don't have that kind of nonsense running around in my head. I'm photographing.

-John Szarkowski became the head of the Department of Photographs at the Museum of Modern Art in 1962, and Szarkowski was really looking at what photographs can do that other art forms can't do, and what are the characteristics of photography that make it special?

-With the installation of John Szarkowski at MoMA, there was this sense that something new was possible, something even revolutionary.

All of a sudden, not only was there a group of photographers seeking to create a new language, there was this guy who actually spoke a new language and wrote a new language.

-The photographic landscape of the second half of the 20th century is so largely determined by John Szarkowski.

So even if you've actually never heard of him, you've got no idea who he was, you will be all the time conscious of his influence.

-John was -- Everyone called him the czar.

John basically called the shots in terms of what was perceived as viable photography and what was not.

He was a very poetic man, and I think most to the point, he was a wonderful curator in the sense that he had a wonderful eye.

He could take somebody's body of work and make it absolutely sing.

The flip side of that, he and I had a falling-out because I went off to be a critic, and he said, 'Always tell the truth,' and my truth was sometimes not his truth.

Any act where you questioned, for instance, Garry Winogrand, or you had an issue to raise about, you know, whether it be feminism or the ways in which a project was put together, was basically perceived as treason.

-Well, curators have their sensibility and their passion just like art historians, just like gallerists.

And I think oftentimes, when you feel like you've created something, you want to hold onto those people.

And in a way, it's a really beautiful thing to think about a curator who will go the whole distance with a group of artists or one artist.

It's an amazing thing.

-Very early in his tenure at MoMA, John came up with an exhibition called 'Five Unrelated Photographers.'

And looking back, it's sort of remarkable how John was able to look at this work and embrace it to the degree that he included it in this five-person exhibition.

♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -Szarkowski was incredibly important to Winogrand.

He was a mentor to him, somebody who helped guide him and give him some direction, helping him figure out how to move his work forward.

-I made my living as a commercial photographer, and that whole museum thing was -- You gotta say, in those times, there were no galleries.

There was nothing. The museum didn't mean anything.

Matter of fact, what happened was, he ran into me at a party.

He asked me to call him, and I never did.

And then he called me about four weeks later.

You see, it didn't have the same meaning the way it seems to now, the whole thing that's happened with photography.

You understand? It was a different time.

-He developed ways of photographing which is just sort of lifting the Leica in a gesture like that, and, you know, its the camera's making the exposure and bringing the camera down that left it all very confusing to people he was photographing as to whether or not he'd actually taken the picture.

-95% of the photographs are of people, and it's this observation of human behavior, of human activity, human gesture, the relationships between people, whether they know each other or not.

How we behave in the world.

-I don't lay myself down on a couch, you know, to figure out why I'm not a this or that.

Whatever it is, I can't seem to do enough of it.

It bolloxes my mind, I mean, when people talk about photographs in depth and whatnot.

All a photograph ever does is describe light on surface.

That's all there is.

And that's all we ever know about anybody -- what we see.

We are our faces and whatever, you know?

That's all there is, is light on surface.

-Winogrand is remarkable among artists in that he left very little written record of what he thought.

There are almost no letters.

There are no diaries, no journals.

There is a single statement, though, in which he did speak about the world around him and about what was going on inside himself, both at the same time -- was his application for a Guggenheim fellowship of late 1963, which followed, by about a year, the Cuban Missile Crisis, to which he seems to have had an extraordinarily powerful reaction.

By his own account, he was terrified and driven -- I don't want to say to a mental breakdown.

Who knows about that?

But certainly in that direction.

And so 11 months later in his Guggenheim application, he wrote the following.

He said... -'I have been photographing the United States, trying by investigating photographically to learn who we are and how we feel, by seeing what we look like as history has been and is happening to us in this world.

Since World War II, we have seen the spread of affluence move to the suburbs and the spreading of them, the massive shopping centers to serve them, cars to and from.

New schools, churches, and banks, and the growing need of tranquilizer peace.

Missile races, H-bombs for overkill, war and peace tensions, and bomb-shelter security.

And since the Supreme Court decision to desegregate schools, we have the acceleration of civil liberties battled by Negroes.

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, and 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.'

-This artist who's in a constant existential crisis trying to figure out where he fits in.

And I think that's true for all of us.

-That statement, I think, could be taken to stand for his entire life as a photographer.

It's an effort to see, as truthfully as he possibly can, the world around him.

And then somehow, magically, by what means he never explains, to find in that deeply disappointing, deeply fallen world, some kind of redemption.

That's a project.

[ Bob Dylan's 'When the Ship Comes In' plays ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -♪ Oh, the foes will rise ♪ ♪ With the sleep still in their eyes ♪ ♪ And they'll jerk from their beds ♪ ♪ And think they're dreaming ♪ ♪ But they'll pinch themselves and squeal ♪ ♪ And they'll know that it's for real ♪ ♪ The hour that the ship comes in ♪ ♪ And they'll raise their hands sayin' ♪ ♪ 'We'll meet all your demands' ♪ ♪ We'll shout from the bow ♪ ♪ 'Your days are numbered' ♪ ♪ And like Pharaoh's tribe ♪ ♪ They'll be drownded in the tide ♪ ♪ And like Goliath, they'll be conquered ♪ -I think everyone's wrong about the unfinished work.

I don't want to hear that it wasn't as good as anything else.

You want to start comparing?

Nothing is as good as 1964.

That's all. Not -- Not just -- Not Garry. No one else. Nothing.

And that's how great his work from 1964 was.

For crying out loud.

-He began traveling out into the west, and arguably, 1964 was the single-most productive year of his entire life.

He was on fire that year and produced a tremendous body of work, for the most part in Texas and in California.

-Garry took the 35mm camera and used it maybe further than anybody else could use it.

And by that, I mean the amount of information that can be included with the lenses that he was using.

So that what you ended up with is a portrait of America.

-For Garry, it became something much more spontaneous, but again, owing very, very little to accepted or established canons of beautiful composition.

He felt that photography was a medium that should be open to new forms, maybe the form of nonform.

It isn't just an idea about a form.

It's how the form changes when you change the machine.

And the big change that Garry made with the machine was to use 28mm lens that is a wide-angle lens, of course.

It completely changes the nature of the drawing of a photograph.

And Garry was the first, I think, great master of that drawing.

-Garry photographed not only in black-and-white, but in color, and, in fact, would oftentimes have two cameras, one with color film and one with black-and-white film.

-Clearly, there was a point when Garry considered the color-work part of his work as an artist.

As we know about Garry, the way he worked was that he photographed constantly.

You know all the stories. The rolls of film, the bags.

And the color processes at the time were both too slow and too expensive.

And that's what Garry says in this conversation with Jay, because he turned his back on it at that point.

-Joel sends his regards, 'cause I told him I was gonna see you.

He's gotten into color printing.

-More power to him.

When it becomes as easy as black-and-white, that's my problem. -That's the point.

-What is it?

-It's as easy as black-and-white.

-[Bleep]. I'm looking at all the processes.

It isn't. -All right.

-The way I work, you'll see -- If you come over to the house, you'll see.

I got piles of workprints there. Thousands.

And I'll expose a lot of paper.

-I know. You always did that.

-You can't do that with color paper. You can't do it.

I couldn't possibly even come close to dealing with my shooting.

-Maybe not that much. -You see? It's crazy.

-How much film are you shooting?

-I'm probably shooting 600 rolls a year.

Pretty easy.

-You know, he's full of himself.

His girlfriend at the time, who became his second wife, was writing copy.

It was the 'Mad Men' era when I met him in the middle '60s.

He seemed totally invulnerable, this lion of a man.

He wore these jackets, suit coats that Judy encouraged him to wear, and he lost weight, went on a diet, tried to give up smoking.

So there was a certain excitement about his days, and that was irresistible to the 26-, 27-year-old person I was when I first met him.

♪♪♪ -'New Documents' opened up the photography world in a way that introduced a new way of looking at and making photographs.

-The famous 'New Documents' show features Lee Friedlander, Diane Arbus, and Garry Winogrand.

You know, there's a paradigm-defining new show.

It's still documentary, but it's much more personal.

-The 'New Documents' show, it was like the Bible.

You know, it was very radical.

It was a statement of what was acceptable in art photography, and it was the social landscape of Lee Friedlander, and it was the public landscape of urbanism, which was Garry.

And it was Arbus' way of looking at her fellows.

-The 1967 'New Documents' exhibition reset the course of photography.

There was something about the distinction between Arbus, Friedlander, and Winogrand that it allowed me to understand Garry's work by looking at it in relation to those two other people.

-I mean, Arbus' work was really kind of amazing in that in the '50s, you never saw anything but smiling white people.

It was like a mirror that reflected only one kind of person.

And so Arbus looking at the people she was looking at or Garry being interested in bandaged people or interracial couples, it was really shocking.

-People were hungry for the truth, so hungry for the truth.

One's hungry for the truth when one is young because one is struggling through the fog of illusions that collects as one leaves childhood and enters adulthood.

But remember that this was a time in which this country was greatly confused about what its values were, and young people especially were full of intense feeling and little knowledge.

♪♪♪ -I think Garry was one of the most intelligent people I've ever met.


And wise also.

I mean, foolish in certain ways, but wise about being on the planet and understanding what was important and that notion -- The thing that I described about him trying to fit in.

The one place he knew he could fit in was with family.

-At some point, I realize now, he hasn't paid his taxes in five years.

It was like a bottomless pit 'cause he didn't have enough money to make the rent.

He didn't have enough money to make child support.

And it seemed like, this is chaos.

This is just going to degenerate into further and further chaos, and I can't deal with it, and I left.

♪♪♪ -I don't think Garry wanted to get divorced in either case, either from Adrienne or Judy.

I think it was something that both of them wanted.

I think he would have probably stuck it out if there were a way to do that.

-Winogrand's lonesomeness was, for the most part, a well-kept secret.

In spite of his own experience, which was checkered at best, he never tired of craving marriage and family life.

-I think in some ways, it was kind of a brilliant solution to taking care of his kids while he was actually also shooting.

So they were getting something out of it, and he was getting something out of it.

Let's talk about one of your projects, 'The Animals.'

There, like in so much of your work, juxtapositions and gestures, that usually go unnoticed for most of us, are very significant.

-When my first two children were young, I used to take them to the zoo.

And I'd make pictures. Actually of them, mostly.

'The Animals' came about in a funny way because I made a few shots, and at some point, I realized something was going on in some of those pictures.

And then I went to work at that.

-I got 'The Animals,' and I loved the picture on the back that he didn't take, the picture of him.

He looked like a movie star to me.

And I studied that book.

-There are some really great pictures in there, but there is also quite a lot of pretty -- pbht!

Winogrand is amazing. He is the real deal.

But I don't think all of those photographs are so remarkable.

-It's a book that's kind of easy to dismiss because it seems so casual.

But then when you really look at it, you realize it's an extension in a lot of ways of his street photography, I think, because there are all these unscripted dramas that are happening at the zoo.

I love how there are a couple of pictures that include his kids, but that's so subtle that you would miss it if you didn't know.

-He's got a place that he has to go, and he has to go there regularly, and he's this photo freak that has to photograph the whole time, and so he's stepped into this arena that his kids like to go to, and he can kill two birds with one stone.

-The divorced man is a much neglected topic at least in Western literature, film, et cetera.

When I did the story for Don of what he would be like on his own, I couldn't find any examples.

-The zoo pictures, I share Matt's opinion that I wasn't crazy about the zoo pictures, pictures of animals.

You describe it so brilliantly, I think, as, 'Oh, that's the divorced dad's pictures.'

And, yeah, then I see it. Of course that's what it's about.

It's a place where, as you can say, he can go to with his kids.

And then that shifts you away from the obvious subject -- oh, it's kids and people relating to animals.

Then you realize it's more about Winogrand relating to the other people.

-There it is, the physical reality.

At the same time, it's being expressed as a poetic reality.

He, the photographer, is looking down into the water.

And in the deep foreground is a walrus that's risen out of the water and is staring up at the camera.

And behind the walrus, the incomprehending family of three looking for the mystery that's already disappeared.

It's all about the mysteries -- the one that's been lost, the one that's contained in the animal, and the mystery, finally, of the artist.

It's a meaning that's very, very consistent in Garry and his work, which is animals do have a kind of superior knowledge.

Or maybe, as a corollary, the most developed, evolved human is the one who's closest to his or her animal nature.

-I think, you know, photographs, any works of art that have any real power play with what you think you know.

They make you question what you think you know.

Puns, though. What's funny about a pun?

You don't really laugh because of anything funny.

You laugh because you realize you're not getting killed.

Language is basically your existence.

And a pun calls into question what you believe a word means.

And you're profoundly upset, and when you realize you're not getting killed, you laugh out of relief.

That's what really happens.

-He really thought the pun was kind of a noble thing.

He was interested in those things that upset one's sense of convention.

He looked for a parallel in photography.

-Here is a photograph that received a lot of denunciation on grounds that it was a racial joke, a racist joke.

The photograph shows a very beautiful black man and a very beautiful white woman dressed for the avenue, promenading through the Central Park Zoo.

And in their arms are their two children.

It's a family group.

They love their children.

There's only one problem with this picture, which is that the two children are two chimpanzees.

The picture is enormously funny, but it's not funny because it makes the dumb racial joke.

No, the reason it's funny, it seems to me, is that all four of them take it so seriously, that they believe in themselves and in each other and in their connectedness to each other so fully.

That's the joke. Where does it then take you?

To how we all live in a world of illusion?

To how we don't know who we really are?

To how we don't know who our parents are?

To how we don't know who our children are?

Remember, this is the very moment when everyone was screaming about the disintegration of the American family.

-One of the things that's not characteristic of a Garry Winogrand photo was, say, the image that's somewhat controversial of the interracial couple with the monkeys.

And in certain exhibitions and things, I've seen it mentioned that people felt that that was his most significant picture or one of his most significant pictures, which I just flatly dispute because it didn't reflect his attitude as a person.

That attitude is not repeated very much in other pictures.

Compositionally, it's nowhere near as sophisticated as, say, a picture of the World's Fair with the women on the bench and the guy, which also touches on racial issues, but it's a much more complex, sophisticated, more where he was coming from, from knowing the guy.

I think that does him a disservice if people are highlighting that as a significant picture, because, like with many humorous comedians, it borders on bad taste, so that's problematic, and I don't think it's really reflective of him or his work.

♪♪♪ -It's now the beginning of the '70s, and by now, the '60s has exhausted itself.

Paroxysm of violence and despair, cynicism, defeat in war.

And so Winogrand, looking back as much as forward, chose to leave New York finally and go to live in Texas and in California with the idea that by returning to these places that he had visited, he would be able to deepen his understanding of them.

-He talks a lot about how he's interested in 'problems.'

And I think that Texas and California were very exciting, photographic problems for him.

He had been successful in both places on previous visits west, especially in 1964.

And I think he saw them as these really interesting, fertile places for a photographer.

-The cities are completely disintegrating.

Absolutely no civic interests, white flights, bussing.

It's driven by economics, race. Just the, you know, entropy.

And gum -- Just go to the subway platform, and just imagine every one of those gray spots is a wad of gum that came out of somebody's mouth and think about the last hundred years that that subway has been there.

-In the very years when Winogrand was making this move, it was also widely felt that the East was finished.

That New York was exhausted, New York was nearly bankrupt, a depraved, sort of a rotten city, and it was believed correspondingly in those years that the future would be found in Southern California, it'd be in Texas.

So in a sense, he was following out a line of national feeling, not only his own interests, but a line of national feeling.

And so he left New York.

He took a teaching job in Austin, Texas, in 1973.

-How do you make a photograph of this more interesting than what happened?

That's really the problem.

Now, when you photograph something beautiful, how do you make a photograph that's more beautiful than what was photographed?

In the end, the word 'dramatic' has to apply.

It's always about that.

Is the photograph more dramatic than what was photographed?

I really don't think you really learn from teachers.

You learn from work.

I think what you learn, really, is how to be -- You have to be your own toughest critic.

And you only learn that from work, from seeing work.

♪♪♪ As a teacher, I think of myself what I'm doing here as -- I don't feel that I'm there to...photographers.

I think of an art department as a place where -- They're college students. Why should they know what they're gonna do with their lives?

It's a place to try things.

-♪ 'Cause I was born lonely down by the riverside ♪ ♪ Learned to spin fortune wheels and throw dice ♪ ♪ I was just 13 when I had to leave home ♪ ♪ Knew I couldn't stick around, I had to roam ♪ ♪ Ain't good-looking, but you know I ain't shy ♪ ♪ Ain't afraid to look it, girl, hear me out ♪ ♪ So if you need some lovin', and you need it right away ♪ ♪ Take a little time out, and maybe I'll stay ♪ ♪ But I got to ramble ♪ -♪ Ramblin' man ♪ -♪ Gamble, gamblin' man ♪ ♪ Got to, got to ramble ♪ -♪ Ramblin' man ♪ -♪ I was born a ramblin' gamblin' man ♪ -Did anybody encourage you to be a photographer?

-No. -So what happened?

Nobody encouraged me. What happened?

You became a photographer despite.

See, nobody encouraged anybody.

Nobody encouraged me to be a photographer.

-Yeah, but you were -- -But that's all that ever happened.

That's the only kind of people that make it in these things.

-There are sensitive people in this world.

-Nope. They're never gonna make it.

-Oh, come on.

-They're never gonna make it. -[Bleep] -You'll see. I'm sorry. You become an artist -- You become an artist despite, not because.

I don't care what the situation is, who the person is.

You've got to be tough, aggressive.

It may not look it, but you better be.

When I'm photographing, I see life. That's what I do.

And we know too much about how pictures look and should look.

And how do you get around making those pictures again and again?

It's one modus operandi to frame in terms of what you want to have in the picture, not about how -- making a nice picture.

I'm very subjective in what I photograph.

When things move, I get interested.

I know that much.

So women interest me.

Certainly how they look and how they move, their energy.

-How long have you been married? -To Eileen?

Let me think.

Yeah, it's either two or three years.

Two years or three years.

We've been living together now for -- -I remember when I saw her... -4 1/2 years.

-Yeah, she looked much younger then.

-A couple of years with Winogrand will age anybody.

-Sure. [ Laughs ] -What's the name of the book again?

-'Women are Beautiful: The Observations of a Male Chauvinist Pig.'

-That's lovely.

-And the pictures will prove women are beautiful. That's all.

-Nobody has to prove that women are beautiful.

-I know. [ Laughs ] -In 1975, Winogrand published a book called 'Women are Beautiful.'

It consisted primarily of photographs he had made in the streets in the later '60s and the early '70s.

-Garry's book and the body of work 'Women are Beautiful' I know was controversial at the time.

There were some people I think that thought, you know, the male gaze was objectifying women.

-It was more street photography in a kind of macho aesthetic, and it's hard to remember, but it was very hard for a young woman to walk down the street.

People felt very comfortable commenting about every single thing you did, every single thing you were wearing.

I felt so self-conscious on the street.

There was no way I could have had my camera and stopped and taken a picture.

I didn't feel invisible.

-It was his bad judgment or bad fortune to bring this book to publication at probably the height of feminism that had begun in the 1960s but really, really reached a crescendo in the mid-'70s.

And so he was reviled for this book.

I wonder if there's a single good review of it out there anywhere.

-From my perspective, 'Women are Beautiful' is a very bad book.

It didn't do his work any favors, and I think that, unfortunately, it kind of tarnished his image in a lot of ways, and I don't believe that it really represents the artist that he was.

-My critical response to that book was never easy or facile because, on the one hand, yes, he was there at protest rallies, but he was mainly looking at nipples underneath people's shirts.

Of course, in those days, being a feminist meant fewer bras.

And so obviously, from the point of view of people who are feminists at that time to be not taken seriously when you're at a protest rally and to be seen only as somebody without a bra was deeply problematic.

-When you're photographing on the street, you see these things.

Men look at women. Women look at men.

Gay men look at men. Gay men look at women.

You know, that's a reality, and to deny that reality is futile.

-On the other hand, you have some of the most strong, engaged, out-there women, and they are just screaming and yelling and laughing, so my writing and speaking about that book, it was always mixed.

It was much more that it was such an incredibly protected world.

You're not allowed to express an opinion that, you know, this is kind of sexist.

Can we talk about this?

And John Szarkowski proclaiming that somebody who takes pictures of [Bleep] and whatever is the greatest photographer in the U.S.

You make a statement like that, that's a political problem.

-If we'd applied standard definitions of propriety and niceness to photographers working in the street, we'd be left without a lot of the great pictures in the history of photography.

-I find it kind of intriguin because we allow the state to photograph us so relentlessly, yet people don't seem as bothered by that as they do by someone who is clearly an artist.

-It's an artistic process. You live within this process.

So the questions of surveillance, political correctness, all of that stuff, is just totally irrelevant.

Now, perhaps that makes the few of us who even understand what I'm talking about right now dinosaurs and insensitive ghouls, uh, or whatever.

But who cares? That's it.

-I never feel the brutality of his gaze that I feel with other photographers.

I never feel cruelty.

And it's flattering.

It's kind of like people who -- They can't even see it in themselves sometimes.

You know what I mean?

I think about the photo with the woman with the ice-cream cone.

It's just, like, someone has just said the most flattering thing she's ever heard, and she's completely embarrassed because she doesn't know how beautiful she is.

-The one my students and I love of the woman who was eating an ice-cream cone, she's got her head thrown back and her mouth open, and there's some headless mannequin or something behind her.

That's amazing, that photo, and it's sexual, and it's 'vagina with teeth' kind of sexual.

And it is also hilarious and ironic and funny.

-I feel like, taking the beauty of a real person, we're many layers away from that right now.

And when you're actually capturing the world, that goes in and out of style.

The interest in the warts is -- Right now we're in a very anti-wart era.

We're in a very stylized era.

People wish they could wear a pair of glasses that Photoshop the world.

They hate themselves.

They control all their pictures.

And Garry, the moments that are being taken, and the content is so unstaged, unperfected, it's like the 'Mona Lisa.'

Why is the 'Mona Lisa' around?

It's because she is a regular person.

♪♪♪ -I read a joke, attributed to Norman Mailer.

And it goes like this.

This grandmother, her grandson is in the stroller.

Pushing him down the street.

And somebody she knows stops her and starts admiring this little boy and just talking about him.

'What a beautiful head of hair.'

The color of his hips and his eye color.

And this woman finally says, 'Stop, stop.

If you think he's something, you should see his picture.'

-I think the 'Public Relations' work, it's a body of work which seems less remarkable now, perhaps, precisely because it was so successful.

I could be mistaken, but I think Winogrand was one of the first people to observe and document this idea of the event that existed in order to be filmed.

Now, of course, we don't even find it extraordinary.

-Yeah, I mean, the picture of the bunch of photographers photographing the scene is a cliché now, but at the time, I don't think it was.

-'Public Relations' was really the cusp of postmodernism.

He was the one who was saying that the event itself doesn't matter; it's its image.

It was the harbinger of the selfie generation.

-Because we get to watch the Vietnam War on television, the use of the media, the use of photographs, the use of television to give us information begins to be called into question.

And that, in terms of photography, I think, is the basis of the postmodern movement, you know, why you end up with Cindy Sherman and Laurie Simmons, for example.

-I had my first show in 1979, and it seemed like a whole other kind of thing was bursting open.

We'll call it postmodernist.

We'll call it the pictures generation.

The way that they're described very often is as the first generation that was raised on TV.

Just this broader culture influenced by advertising.

♪♪♪ Here I was living in the nitty-gritty streets of New York, really broke.

I was excited to be there, but I really didn't want to look at work about it.

So when I finally got to MoMA, and I saw what Szarkowski was up to, I thought, 'What is going on here?'

And I didn't like it.

It's so significant for a young artist to kind of kill their elders.

So since that was the first work I looked at, it was, like, 'I want you all to go away.

Make room for me. You're all men.'

You make small black-and-white pictures.

And let me just say again, no, I love all that work.'

When you think about what was going on in the '80s, painting had exploded, and then the photographs that were shown in museums to kind of burst out of the photo departments had to be larger-scale affairs because the '80s were also a time when people were understanding in a new way that the work of younger artists could actually make money.

When I first came to New York in the '70s, the idea that you would be an artist and make money was just laughable.

There was no money to be made.

So I think when suddenly there was this market for art, all of that work kind of got a little bit pushed aside in the museum and gallery scene.

-What happened is, we had the rise of the Chelsea galleries, the art marketplace, whatever, collectors.

All these things.

Why -- Why should Garry be influential in that?

Why should he?

Who could stand looking at a Garry Winogrand photograph while they're having dinner? [ Laughs ] -That kind of work, Garry's work, it's not easy because the subject matter is sometimes elusive.

-We entered the dark ages, really, as far as photography's concerned.

Deconstruction, the love of Barth and Fusco and all the rest of it, it became a miasma for photography.

And Garry, you know, went down with the tide.

It's, like -- [ Laughs ] ...his reputation and all the rest of it.

-Winogrand, though there's plenty of irony in his work, he is never ironic about the enterprise of artmaking.

He's not an Andy Warhol.

He's an anti-Warhol.

So as the national culture moved in the direction that it's all illusion, that every face is really a mask, that every statement is really a joke, I think that possibly Winogrand would have seemed less relevant.

♪♪♪ -The photo in front of Denny's on Sunset, you can feel, even if you don't know anything about the equipment, someone in their car holding this apparatus up like that, and it's Dutched, and it's a catastrophe.


I know that that artist identifies with that person in the gutter.

No one sees me. I see all.

♪♪♪ The high and the low to me is all about honesty.

Sometimes, you know, not just children, but sometimes your spouse will say something completely poetic.

And sometimes, standing in front of a vending machine, you might experience beauty.

♪♪♪ -It feels to me in this and in certain other pictures that the central figure is a stand-in for Garry.

And he mentioned it specifically in a later picture of a clown being chased by a bull.

That he said, 'That's a self-portrait.'

♪♪♪ -Winogrand went on to Los Angeles in 1978.

It was Los Angeles where he felt these extraordinary sources of vulgar American energy.

You saw a landscape that was a strange sort of combination of frontier and wasteland.

And this comes through in the works from Los Angeles so that a very powerful bleakness comes into Winogrand's work.

-Garry never really reminisced about New York, to me.

He was a man of living in the moment he was in.

And to me, what a lot of people see as bleak in that work is more about the place.

-By the time you're in the '80s, Winogrand land is a pretty beaten-up and depressed place.

-It's a Reagan-ized place by the end, isn't it?

-I mean, I've photographed in Los Angeles.

I don't think -- You can do it by foot, but Winogrand was injured by then.

He needed a car. He couldn't walk around.

He couldn't move and dart and, you know -- He wasn't the same athlete as he was.

And so the car thing is because he was in bad shape by then.

-Once he left New York, I think the notion of health and Garry Winogrand did become maybe the central one of his life.

First of all, he was injured in a football game, breaking his leg.

And all of a sudden, this beast of a man was much less beast-like, much more vulnerable.

-And there's also Winogrand's personal life.

One can see a bit into that.

He was married for his third time, it's true.

And his third marriage by the later 1970s seems to have been more than a bit troubled.

-Garry was living in L.A., and I was in L.A., and there wasn't the photographic community that there was in New York.

It was -- You were very isolated as an artist.

-For Garry, these friendships that we're talking about were central to his life.

So I think he felt profoundly uprooted and, in a way, lost.

I don't think he would admit to any of these feelings, but that's the way that I saw him.

-If he was, indeed, lost in the Los Angeles years, I didn't feel it.

-The thing about late Winogrand, you know, that great thing he said -- 'I photograph to find out what a thing looked like photographed.'

The horrible irony is that by the end, you know, he really wasn't finding out what things looked like photographed because he didn't see the results.

-How much time do you spend in your dark room?

Do you develop your own -- -I develop my own film.

And I work in spurts. I mean, I pile it up.

-How far behind are you? -Let's not get into that.

[ Laughter ] -Do you count it in years? -There's two ways I'm behind.

I mean, I'm behind in developing film, and then in terms of the printing, way -- You know, it's not easily measurable.

[ Chuckles ] I'm a joke.

Uh... That's the way I am. It's the way I work.

I've never felt overwhelmed.

You know what I mean? I know it gets done.

-I think one of the things that influences me most about Garry Winogrand is the idea to just shoot.

Go with the gut feeling.

Sometimes we refer to him as sort of the first digital photographer in the sense that he really shot without regard to the economy of film.

Shooting in the analog era, but just like a machine gun.

-Garry goes to Texas, not living in a place where he has a dark room.

This is the beginning of the lag, the big lag.

He goes to L.A., begins the relationship with the dark room again, with an assistant and all that.

And you've seen the footage of Garry looking through all and taking out all the undeveloped film.

Garry doesn't fall behind until he cuts his real tie with New York.

-He hadn't looked at a quarter of a million pictures.

He was half a photographer.

He took amazing pictures, but after he'd become very famous, he no longer managed to do the other half, which is look at them, make selections.

-There's no real system. You know, it's just -- It's gonna be pretty rough when I go to find a negative.

[ Laughs ] I mean... When you're younger, you can only conceive of trying a limited amount of things to work with.

The more I work, the more subject matter I can begin to try to deal with.

So I think what I do is nuts.

The nature of the photographic progress, it is about failure.

Most everything I do doesn't quite make it.

Hopefully, you're risking failing every time you make a frame.

-He went out and pushed himself to make difficult pictures to test the limits of what a picture could contain.

And he failed a lot.

And you have to fail a lot in order to push yourself and to learn and to grow.

And he was willing to go out there and fail and fail and fail and fail with the hope that eventually he'd get something that actually worked.

-I don't know, quite honestly, how much longer he could have gone on.

Simply photographing more and more and throwing more and more cassettes into bags without, in a way, finding that that itself deepened the despair that's evident in the work.

Because you do need what the pictures give back to you.

-I think that he probably did not want to stop taking pictures with the fantasy that, at some point, he would have to, and he would just go through and find everything, not realizing that life works the way it does.

[ U2's 'Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' plays ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -♪ I have climbed highest mountain ♪ ♪ I have run through the fields ♪ ♪ Only to be with you ♪ ♪ Only to be with you ♪ ♪ I have run, I have crawled ♪ ♪ I have scaled these city walls ♪ ♪ These city walls ♪ ♪ Only to be with you ♪ ♪ But I still haven't found... ♪ -Oh, I saw him literally in the last week of his life, and, uh... what I saw then -- I don't know. I'll start crying.

But... this great man who... ...who wouldn't -- wouldn't contend with the active notion of dying.

Because he couldn't.

-He had stopped drinking.

And he had stopped smoking. Like, that was a miracle.

But it was all too late.

He was in agony the last number of years of his life.

And somehow, he felt really saddened that he wasn't in better shape, that he couldn't be there more for his daughter.

She was 8 when he died.

-He was going down to Mexico to fight the bull.

It was just -- It was just so Garry.

Said with such seriousness.

And... [ Sighs ] I -- I don't know what point it has, but I-I feel that I should say that I was the person who encouraged him to go to Mexico, that it might be some kind of solution to the cancer.

-He didn't feel it. He was not in pain.

When he went for the biopsy -- He had a biopsy in February.

A month later, he was dead.

Now, if he hadn't had that biopsy, he could have lived with the discomfort probably for a couple of years.

-He died literally within an hour after being checked into this clinic.

Um... But -- And he was full of love, too, at that point.

In a -- In a direct way that I had never seen before, experienced before.

-I'm kind of sad. I really am sad about the end, that I didn't get to see him again and tell him that I loved him with all -- everything.

-For me, it was hard to let Garry go because he had altered my course as an artist, having met him.

After he died, I decided to move here because one of the reasons was is, you know, I wanted to go to the place where Garry had made the work that had influenced me so much.

-Winogrand died in 1984, and shortly after that, the Museum of Modern Art embarked on the project for his first retrospective, and that was under the leadership of John Szarkowski, the man who had done more than anyone else to advance Winogrand's career.

So it was natural for Szarkowski to take on a posthumous Winogrand project.

And Szarkowski, I think, also felt great curiosity about what Winogrand had done in his later years.

He hadn't seen it. Nobody had seen it.

We want to know what he did.

-When Winogrand died in 1984, he left some 4,000 rolls of film developed, but not contact printed, and then another 2,500 or so rolls of film still in their cartridges.

And so when John Szarkowski planned the 1988 retrospective, he was faced with the question of what to do with this huge amount of work.

-That was the show that unleashed the drama of the posthumous work and how to deal with that.

And he did a great job with some people who he trusted, like Todd and Tom, to go through the work, but it's so unwieldy.

-I was one of the three editors of the so-called posthumous work.

John Szarkowski and Tom Roma being the other two.

-All these contact sheets, you could look at a picture that was made two years before, a strip, and then that, and then a year ago.

It was maddening looking through, posthumously contacting.

When I got to the posthumously developed stuff, holy moly.

What a strange journey Garry took us on.

-Can it be theorized that to go on photographing for such a long time without looking at one's work is to commit a sort of artistic suicide?

One can.

-One might say that Winogrand's approach to photography came finally to suggest the approach of a materials testing laboratory.

He would test the camera's capacity for describing life by piling onto it heavier and denser and more complex loads of data.

Or perhaps it is possible that he finally used all of his time and energy 'burning film,' as he put it, because he could not face the prospect of looking at what he had shot yesterday.

-Szarkowski's judgment upon seeing it was that Winogrand had lost his talent after leaving New York and that the work that he did in those later years was no good.

-Was he losing something?

Was he losing a step near the end?

And then I -- And then I discovered what it was.

Everyone was so irreverent of Garry that they developed everything and contacted everything.

And by everything, I mean -- You know how you load a Leica M4?

Turn it upside down.

You take the film out, you put the new roll of film in.

And then what do you do?

You advance one, two, three.

Chk, chk, chk.

They printed those.

They printed the waste, the three pictures.

And once I discovered this, I went back and back and back and back, and I could draw a direct line.

You see Garry's feet sticking out.

[ Three taps on table, fingers drumming on table ] So, you'll know how to fix this part.

And then you see these two little feet sticking in.

It's Melissa.

He put her on his shoulders, tried to photograph.

Sometimes he was holding her hand.

All these frames where he couldn't move through the crowd, couldn't get there.

Something interesting is going on.

Couldn't get there.

The physicality.

So that -- that's what I saw in those contact sheets.

Garry left New York. He left his dark room.

He gets to L.A.

He's with his daughter, who he couldn't bear to be away from after not being with his other two kids.

He never left those two kids. His wife left him.

So the pictures look the way they do because there was an author, there was a human being standing in a place sometimes not exactly where he wanted to be, but he kept working.

♪♪♪ -Do you always use available light?

-That's the only light that there is.

[ Laughter and applause ] I mean, that's a funny term.

You know, I use flash. That's available light.

[ Laughter ] There's a lot of funny terms in photography that really describe nothing.

One photograph isn't a still life.

Somebody once said to me, 'Your photographs are about action and motion.'

I said, 'No, they're about stillness,' and that's what they're about, if you look at them.

-I know that a lot of his friends and admirers disagree with me, but I think that he was really onto something with the late work in Los Angeles.

The 1988 retrospective happened very soon after Winogrand's death, and I think they were all in mourning.

-I think that Szarkowski's prestige was so great that I think that having heard his judgment about Winogrand's later years, people perhaps shied away from looking again.

-I think everyone's wrong about Garry.

I don't think he got worse.

I think maybe the world got worse.

-Nobody's really got to grips with late Winogrand, and Szarkowski just discounted it all too much.

It's the great challenge, I think, for curators, of late Winogrand, because just whether the eye has the stamina to find the riches that one believes are there.

-He gave a public lecture, and somebody asked him, 'Well, how many pictures do you have to take to take a great one?'

Meaning, the monkeys will eventually type 'War and Peace' if you have enough monkeys and enough typewriters.

I find the question tedious.

I find the conclusions that people draw from it totally off the wall.

-Garry Winogrand becomes the 347,000 rolls of film that he shot and never developed.

You know, this Frankenstein of photographic exposure.

It really deflects the question away from him and what he actually accomplished.

-It's a dramatic fact in itself that he continued to make pictures without feeling the necessity of developing or printing them, but it's not what's most interesting about the work.

-When we listen to late Coltrane, which is, you know -- it's a right old racket.

But it's not late Coltrane in the sense that it's where he was finally gonna arrive at.

He got suddenly ill, and then it stopped.

And everyone says that during that phase of Coltrane's life, actually what he was doing was maybe trying to find some way on to the next phase, you know?

So it's a kind of not late so much as penultimate.

I feel that something similar with Winogrand.

-There is no such thing as a definitive retrospective, but I think he's a rich enough, complex enough artist that once a generation, might merit going back into the work.

Digging in, seeing what it means.

-The pictures are taking me in a direction of what I expect from art, which is to see things through another person's eyes and to feel less lonely.

Did he really want anybody to see 'em?

I don't know. Garry, I don't know.

I got to believe that he did.

And, by the way, all of this has changed if you add 100 years.

What can you actually learn from looking at the pictures, is trust your gut.

There is no substitute for impulse.

You have to have some social skills.

-He was such a bastard. He was such a -- [ Laughs ] You know, he never lost any of his power to surprise, his power to be in truth with what he cared about.

-Winogrand, although he may have made a million exposures in his life, thought of them all as independent mysteries.

His work was a world made up of energy, ambition, desperate moments, and unfamiliar beauty.

It was his world, not ours, except to the degree that we might accept his pictures as a just metaphor for our recent past.

-After everything Garry did, we want Garry now to tell us what it's about?

Anything else? You want him to clean your house?

He took the pictures. That's it.

[ REM's 'Catapult' plays ] ♪♪♪ -♪ Ooh, we were little boys ♪ ♪♪♪ ♪ Ooh, we were little girls ♪ ♪♪♪ ♪ It's nine o'clock, don't try to turn it off ♪ ♪♪♪ ♪ Cowered in a hole ♪ ♪ Open your mouth, a question ♪ ♪ Did we miss anything? ♪ ♪ Did we miss anything? ♪ ♪ Did we miss anything? ♪ ♪ Did we miss anything? ♪ ♪ Catapult, catapult ♪ ♪♪♪


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