GARRY WINOGRAND
[1928 – 1984] American photographer

 
Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed. - Garry Winogrand
When asked how he felt about missing photographs while he reloaded his camera with film, he replied "There are no photographs while I'm reloading" - Garry Winogrand
I have a burning desire to see what things look like photographed by me. - Garry Winogrand
said when he was asked why he photographs.
There is nothing as mysterious as a fact clearly described I like to think of photographing as a two way act of respect. Respect for the medium, by letting it do what it does best, describe. And respect for the subject, by describing it as it is. A photograph must be responsible to both. - Garry Winogrand
What I write here is a description of what I have come to understand about photography, from photographing and from looking at photographs. A work of art is that thing whose form and content are organic to the tools and materials that made it. Still photography is a chemical, mechanical process. Literal description or the illusion of literal description, is what the tools and materials of still photography do better than any other graphic medium. A still photograph is the illusion of a literal description of how a camera saw a piece of time and space. Understanding this, one can postulate the following theorem: Anything and all things are photographable. A photograph can only look like how the camera saw what was photographed. Or, how the camera saw the piece of time and space is responsible for how the photograph looks. Therefore, a photograph can look any way. Or, there's no way a photograph has to look (beyond being an illusion of a literal description). Or, there are no external or abstract or preconceived rules of design that can apply to still photographs. I like to think of photographing as a two-way act of respect. Respect for the medium, by letting it do what it does best, describe. And respect for the subject, by describing as it is. A photograph must be responsible to both. - Garry Winogrand
Austin, Texas 1974
I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed. - Garry Winogrand
[If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would] do something to shake it up. - Garry Winogrand
A photograph can look any way. - Garry Winogrand
I am a tourist. - Garry Winogrand , Documentary Photography - LIFE Library of Photography , Page: 190
No one moment is most important. Any moment can be something. - Garry Winogrand , Documentary Photography - LIFE Library of Photography , Page: 190
The photo is a thing in itself. And that's what still photography is all about. - Garry Winogrand
There is no special way a photograph should look. - Garry Winogrand
You see something happening and you bang away at it. Either you get what you saw or you get something else--and whichever is better you print. - Garry Winogrand
How do I say it? The way I would put it is that I get totally out of myself. It’s the closest I come to not existing, I think, which is the best--which is to me attractive. - Garry Winogrand
on why he photographed.
You’ve got to deal with how photographs look, what’s there, not how they’re made. - Garry Winogrand , Visions and Images : American Photographers on Photography by Barbaralee Diamonstein , Page: 181
Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts. - Garry Winogrand
...In the end, maybe the correct language would be how the fact of putting four edges around a collection of information or facts transforms it. A photograph is not what was photographed, it’s something else. - Garry Winogrand , Visions and Images : American Photographers on Photography by Barbaralee Diamonstein , Page: 181
I photograph what intrests me all the time. I live with the pictures to see what that thing looks like photographed. - Garry Winogrand , Visions and Images : American Photographers on Photography by Barbaralee Diamonstein , Page: 185
I really try to divorce myself from any thought of possible use of this stuff. That’s part of the discipline. My only purpose while I’m working is to try to make interesting photographs, and what to do with them is another act – a alter consideration. Certainly while I’m working, I want them to be as useless as possible. - Garry Winogrand , Visions and Images : American Photographers on Photography by Barbaralee Diamonstein , Page: 187
…The photograph should be more interesting or more beautiful than what was photographed. - Garry Winogrand , Visions and Images : American Photographers on Photography by Barbaralee Diamonstein , Page: 187
The primary problem is to learn to be your own toughest critic. You have to pay attention to intelligent work, and to work at the same time. You see. I mean, you’ve got to bounce off better work. It’s matter of working. - Garry Winogrand , Visions and Images : American Photographers on Photography by Barbaralee Diamonstein , Page: 191
on the question: "What general advice would you give to young photographers? What should they be doing?"
No, the only thing that’s difficult is reloading when things are happening. Can you get it done fast enough? - Garry Winogrand , Visions and Images : American Photographers on Photography by Barbaralee Diamonstein , Page: 191
on the question: "Have you ever had any particular difficult assgignments or photographic moments?"
I don't have messages in my pictures...The true business of photography is to capture a bit of reality (whatever that is) on film. - Garry Winogrand
For me the true business of photography is to capture a bit of reality (whatever that is) on film…if, later, the reality means something to someone else, so much the better. - Garry Winogrand , Views on nudes by Bill Jay , ISBN: 0240507312 , Page: 142
I like to think of photographing as a two way act of respect. Respect for the medium by letting it do what it does best, describe. And respect for the subject by describing it as it is. A photograph must be responsible to both. I photograph to see what things look like photographed. - Garry Winogrand
Photos have no narrative content. They only describe light on surface - Garry Winogrand
For me the true business of photography is to capture a bit of reality (whatever that is) on film... if, later, the reality means something to someone else, so much the better. - Garry Winogrand
[cited in: Creative Camera October 1968, p. 336]
Photographers mistake the emotion they feel while taking the picture as judgment that the photograph is good. - Garry Winogrand
Great photography is always on the edge of failure. - Garry Winogrand
Every photograph is a battle of form versus content. - Garry Winogrand
You have a lifetime to learn technique. But I can teach you what is more important than technique, how to see; learn that and all you have to do afterwards is press the shutter. - Garry Winogrand
I don't have anything to say in any picture. My only interest in photography is to see what something looks like as a photograph. I have no preconceptions. - Garry Winogrand
There are things I back off from trying to talk about, you know. Particularly my own work. Also, there may be things better left unsaid. At times I'd much rather talk about other (people's) work. - Garry Winogrand
Well, I'm not going to get into that. I think that those kind of distinctions and lists of titles like "street photographer" are so stupid. I'm a photographer, a still photographer. That's it. - Garry Winogrand
And a friend of mine at that time, I was talking to him about it—a guy named Dan Weiner. I don't know if you know his name. He's dead now. [He] asked me if I had ever seen ...Walker Evans' book and I said, no. I had never heard of Walker Evans. He said, if you're going around the country, take a look at the book. And he did me a big fat favor. - Garry Winogrand
It's not YOUR picture, it's MY picture! - Garry Winogrand
Garry Winogrand to a guy who told him not to take his picture.