Comments on: Winogrand: The Late Work – Rubinfien v. Szarkowski Mon, 09 Apr 2018 21:32:37 +0000 hourly 1 By: Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Fri, 18 Dec 2015 22:06:45 +0000 Winogrand’s claim to fame was not one of being a great street photog. His expertise was in tasking tons of crappy photos.

“Winogrand almost never developed his film immediately. He said he deliberately waited a year or two in order to lose the memory of the take. “If I was in a good mood when I was shooting one day, then developed the film right away,” he told a class, “I might choose a picture because I remember how good I felt when I took it.” Better, he maintained to let the film “age,” the better to grade slides or contact sheets objectively.“

Well, boys and girls…it is BS!

Winogrand had a big ego. If you look at some of the Winogrand interviews you will see a lot of pretension in his thinking. Winogrand just couldn’t admit the was chronically behind, so he made excuses. That is the real reason for ‘marinating’ his photos.

People like Eric Kim that just regurgitates what he reads in books latches onto this marinating idea and blindly accepts it as gospel. They propagate the wrong ways to their devotees that don’t know anything and pretty soon marinating your photos becomes the thing to do.

John Szarkowski on Winogrand…

“To expose film is not quite to photograph, and the photographer who does not consider his finished pictures is like a pianist who plays only on a silent keyboard. In the absence of proof, mistakes multiply, craft becomes theory, and good thinking passes for art. As Winogrand fell farther behind in the criticism of his own work his technique deteriorated. The last few thousand rolls are plagued with technical failures—optical, chemical, and physical flaws—in one hundred permutations. The most remarkable of these errors is his failure to hold the camera steady at the moment of exposure. Even in bright sunlight, with fast shutter speeds, the negatives are often not sharp. It is as though the making of an exposure had become merely a gesture of acknowledgment that what lay before the camera might make a photograph, if one had the desire and the energy to focus one’s attention.”

This sums up the aging your photos a la’ Winogrand / Eric Kim issue pretty well.

Sure, Winogrand had a few nice shots…the gossiping ladies, feeding the elephant, the acrobat at the parade and a few more. The usual suspects that get trotted out when his name is mentioned. But, he shot tons and tons of crap (over a million) and most of his work is absolute garbage.

Now…I’m 2 to 3 years behind myself, but I won’t lie to you. I shoot so much digital I don’t have time to even look at it. I don’t like it, but that is how it is. And I’m very, very choosy what I shoot too, but I just have too many projects.

By: Pete Sat, 06 Sep 2014 17:42:49 +0000 Excellent essay.
A few thoughts to add:

I think the later work is mostly a failure, and it’s a real push to try to talk it up. LA was not offering much that he could work with.

As far as ‘art photography’ academia is concerned he’s not only a lowly ‘street photographer’ but is seen as a possibly racist, sexist, ignorant schmuck one at that. They don’t care about any of his work, let alone want to make an effort to consider it properly.

For Winogrand it was the fix of making more pictures every day that was the point, it gave his life meaning. The rest was incidental.