Discovering Garry Winogrand — NO TOFU

Originally published at NO TOFU

A traveling exhibit spanning photographer Garry Winogrand’s career closed in Washington, DC on June 8. The exhibit, which includes prints as well as video footage, has run in San Francisco and now moves to the Met in New York City before closing out the year in Paris.

Winogrand traveled the country photographing those things that caught his eye, most often women and the seemingly out of place. This particular exhibit captures the way his own view of America changed over the course of the two decades of his career, beginning in New York City in 1950 and ending in Texas and LA in 1971.

The exhibit at the National Gallery was my first chance to see Winogrand’s work, and the scope of work on view was bewildering. As I walked through the maze of rooms, one dark for the showing of an interview with Winogrand himself, I saw before me the changing nature of America in a time of great social upheaval. In his early photographs, taken in New York City in the 1950s, I saw the glamor synonymous with the era juxtaposed with the tension of those who did not fit. Moving through the late 1960s and early 1970s in places like LA and Texas, his eye seemed to be drawn to the more grotesque — everything larger and more clownish. Gone were the lovely women smiling over champagne, replaced by the garishness of the Wild West. Each image seemed pulled from an exact moment in America’s history, with both an immediate impact on the observer and a deeper meaning within the unknown details just outside the lens.

Garry Winogrand opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on June 27 and runs through September 21.

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