The Jeu de Paume is host to the first retrospective in twenty-five years of the American photographer, Garry Winogrand (1928-1984) until February 8, 2015. Winogrand is considered in the same league as the American photographers: Walker Evans, Robert Frank and Lee Friedlander. Winogrand captured a moment in life similar to French photographers, Robert Doisneau, Marc Riboud and Willy Ronis. From the exhibit, I gathered that he admired most the works of Eugène Atget, Brassaï, Walker Evans and Diane Arbus. Applications for the exhibit are available from iTunes and Google Play.
Three wives, IRS penalties, Garry Winogrand was always on the search for something other than his own backyard is my observation. Capturing other people’s reactions and relationships seemed more important than capturing and protecting his personal relationships. It seems that everything to him was a fleeting moment: It happens, it is over, time to move on. He moved on and kept shooting and left many rolls of film unprocessed. Over sixty of those images are now on display.
His idea was to photograph the people affected by a dramatic event, which made them more important than the dramatic event itself.
What I Saw
I found the exhibit interesting from various points of view: the transition of his types of people photos – easy-going to upheaval to hard pressed, covering the transition of three decades that changed attitudes from New York to other parts of the United States (when he traveled twice on Guggenheim grants).
His photos follow an aging population (young in 1950s to older in 1980s). One example demonstrates how a photo can be interpreted one way, but a moment later the interpretation is either proved right or wrong.
Winogrand shot an image of a couple, each is holding a chimpanzee; they look serious. Fellow photographer, Tod Papageorge, photographed Winogrand and the couple within seconds after, and everyone is laughing, all seriousness vanished. Winogrand’s shot is almost challenging the viewer to see into this event what you will. Protest? Making a statement? Only by looking into one of the cases in the exhibit hall, you see it’s nothing serious at all.
Looking at Winogrand’s contact sheets in the free-standing cases, I saw his rejected photos and the chosen photo. He was looking for an eye; an action in each image. His red marks reveal the cropping, which was rare, and points of “dodging” and “burning”.
The two hours spent made me curious to go back and look at my old photos (one of these days). To say that I recognized certain styles in clothes, hair and shoes or events in the photos would be too personally revealing.
“Surveying Winogrand’s career from its inception in 1950 to his death in 1984, this exhibition is divided into three sections: “Down from the Bronx” presents photographs made in New York City from 1950 through 1971; “A Student of America” includes work from the same period made mostly outside New York; and “Boom and Bust” shows photographs taken largely in Texas and Los Angeles from 1971 until his death (suddenly of cancer in 1984).”–National Gallery of Art press release
If you cannot make the exhibition, visit it virtually in a number of ways. The iTunes and Google Play applications are free and include photographs and explanations.
Read more on the Garry Winogrand exhibit is available at the National Gallery of Art website.
The video shown at Jeu de Paume’s exhibit, “Garry Winogrand at Rice University”, is available on line.
The French magazine Réponses Photo, November 2014, No. 272, features Garry Winogrand’s photographs in a special black and white and art of street photography issue.
Journey of the exhibition: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) from March 9 through June 2, 2013; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. March 2 – June 8, 2014; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (June 27 through September 21, 2014); the Jeu de Paume, Paris (October 14, 2014, through January 25, 2015); and the Fundación MAPFRE, Madrid (March 3 through May 10, 2015).
Jeu de Paume,
Garry Winogrand until February 8, 2015
1 place de la Concorde 75008
Open Wednesday to Sunday 11 am to 7 pm
Closed Monday and Monday holidays
Enter through the Tuileries Gardens; stairs on rue de Rivoli
Handicap access at Pont de Fer entrance