March 9 through June 2, 2013, the SFMOMA will feature the first major touring exhibition and catalogue in 25 years dedicated to the work of Garry Winogrand. A street photographer from the Bronx, Winogrand became best known for his documentary-style depiction of American life in the 1960s.
While working as a commercial photographer and a teacher, Winogrand wandered the streets of New York City with his 35mm Leica, rapidly taking photographs of the people in his immediate vicinity. Though he shot several rolls of film a day, he didn’t shoot from the hip — Winogrand’s methodology only appeared fast and loose, when in fact he always took meticulous care to frame his composition through his viewfinder, utilizing his prefocused wide-angle lens to aid in the swift capturing of images.
Winogrand’s process of developing film was conversely unhurried. He often let a roll of film sit for years before taking it to the darkroom so he could adequately detach himself from personal memories associated with the moments the photos were taken. The distance created a greater objectivity, and he felt the resulting photographs could be evaluated with a critical eye unspoiled by the emotions affiliated with that instant.
Yet for Winogrand, by all appearances, watching meant far less than doing. He died at the age of 56, leaving behind 2,500 rolls of undeveloped film. It is estimated at the time of his death, he had taken over five million photos and never saw a half million of his own shots. As an artist, he was prolific so he could be intentional; fleeting so he could be deliberate in selecting the form and content that would define his body of work.
SFMOMA’s curatorial research undertaken for this exhibition allows the public to see for the first time the expansive breadth of Garry Winogrand’s photos of post-World War II American life in all its enthusiasm and apprehension.
Garry Winogrand: SFMOMA, 151 Third Street (btw. Howard & Mission), March 9–June 2, Monday–Tuesday 11 a.m.–5:45 p.m., Thursday 11 a.m.–8:45 p.m., Friday–Sunday 11 a.m.–5:45 p.m., free–$18, 415-357-4000, www.sfmoma.org