Masters of street photography

Written and researched by Carlo Traina


Garry Winogrand
(New York, 14.01.1928 – Tijuana, 19.03.1984)
“Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed”.

“Consider Garry Winogrand’s picture: so rich in fact and suggestion, and so justly resolved, more complex and more beautiful than the movie that Alfred Hitchcock might derive from it.”
(from “Looking at Photographs” by John Szarkowski)


Garry Winogrand is one of  the “giants” of  the Post-War Amerian Street Photography . Together with “legends” like  Alfred Stieglitz , Henry Cartier Bresson , Elliott Erwitt , Robert Doisneau , and so on , he is considered one of the founders of Street Photography.

His shots have immortalized the everyday life in the American metropolis in the ‘60 and ‘70 . After studying painting and photojournalism , Winogrand was quite impressed by the social photography of Walker Evans and Robert Frank . His final goal was to represent the American society through the moods , the faces, the behaviours and the everyday situations of the common people and of the society (political and cultural events, protest demonstrations and social events). For this reason he liked to shoot going on the street without any previous plan , using a quick rangefinder camera and wide-angle lenses with manual focusing. When shooting he often tilted the lens upwards, with shoots literally taken from the hip . Between the end of the ‘60 and the beginning of the ‘70 , Winogrand went everyday on the streets of New York with his Leica M4.  The photographer Joel Meyerowitz , that was often with him , so describes him during such days : “Garry set a tempo on the street so strong that it was impossible not to follow it. It was like jazz. You just had to get in the same groove.” Winogrand  “Street Photography” is an introspective, thoughtful, intimate but also ironic way to look at the American society which before had never been paid much attention. He was , without any doubt , one of the most prolific photographers of his times (he has taken over 5 millions photos) and one of the more passionate. However, he despised the term “Street Photographer”: he simply considered himself as a “photographer” , and he was more interested in taking photos than being classified by the critics and the art historians.

Winogrand died at the age of 56 , but he has left behind a huge archive of 300.000 images , most of which never developed . Some of these were collected , exposed and published by the MOMA museum in a volume titled “ Wimogrand , Figments from the Real World”

Awards : Three Gugghenheim Fellowship Awards (19641969 and 1979) and one National Endowment of the Arts Award (1979).


ü  The Animals (1969), a significant collection of images taken at the Bronx Zoo and the Aquarium in Coney Island,

ü  Women are beautiful (1975), tribute to female beauty in different places and situations,

ü  Public relations (1977), in which he devoted his attention to the resonance of the media on people’s reactions,

ü  Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo (1980).

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