This is quite possibly the coolest retrospective I've had the pleasure to see. Add to this the fact that I got to visit SFMOMA on a FREE first Tuesday and sit in on a lecture given by Erin O'Toole, the museum's associate curator of photography, and you can understand my joy.
Unfortunately, I am unable to share all the wonderful photographs I was able to see during that afternoon. There was a very strict NO PHOTOGRAPHY rule (I love the irony here!). But I was able to get two shots before the security guard unceremoniously caught me, camera in hand.
I first learned of Winogrand last summer in a history of photography survey course. But, as typically occurs in a course covering such an extensive time period, I only learned the basics and saw his most famous photographs such as the two below titled, New York 1961, and New York World's Fair 1964.
|New York 1961|
Erin O'Toole's lecture really broadened my understanding of Winogrand's interests in photography as well as his form and technique. I particularly like Winogrand's interest in the unspeakable, or what photography cannot tell the viewer. He took a great deal of photographs that were quite unconventional in form according to photojournalistic standards, that brought these issues to the forefront of the viewer's mind. For example, in one photograph, he captured what appears to be the aftermath of an accident. The chaos of the scene is captured in the photographs fragmented, unorthodox framing, presenting the viewer with little information of what could have occurred. The back of a policeman blocks the action of the shot, while a young boy looks on in fear and disbelief. A man is severed by the framing of the composition, heightening the already surmounting anxieties concerning physical trauma and death that are embedded in the image. In providing only bits of information, Winogrand leaves the story as well as the meaning of his images open to interpretation.
|New York World's Fair 1964|