Thirty-four years after his death, Garry Winogrand’s photographs continue to charm, befuddle and amaze viewers. A new book, “The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand,” takes 100 photos and pairs each with an essay by Geoff Dyer. The experience was daunting, especially sifting through the stream of images shot in his prolific final years. But it was also quite the revelation. Jordan Teicher spoke with Mr. Dyer about the book, which was published by the University of Texas Press.
There’s an anecdote buried deep inside the footnotes of the catalog for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Garry Winogrand survey that speaks volumes about the present exhibition. In it, his better known contemporary, Lee Friedlander, watches Winogrand release the shutter of his camera with nearly every passerby encountered on a New York street. Thirty years after Winogrand’s quick dispatch from cancer in 1984, Friedlander’s shocked response to his friend’s incontinence appears more informative than lapidary: “Garry, you’re not photographing, you’re taking the census.”
“Mr. Winogrand had no patience for the phony sympathies he thought connected too many photographers to their subjects. In the exhibition catalog, Mr. Rubinfien writes that the most successful pictures, in Mr. Winogrand’s mind, were the ones “that told you that the world was a jumble of fragments, that the truth was more complex than any account could be.”