If you’re into street photography, you’re well familiar with Garry Winogrand, one of the genre’s most recognised icons. Even if you don’t know him, watch this video from his visit to Rice University in 1977 for some rare off-the-cuff insights about photography.
In addition to helping define street-style shooting in the mid-twentieth century, Winogrand was a unique personality. He did not adhere to what you might expect from a world-renowned artist. In the hour and 45 minute video, he addresses questions with the attitude of a New Yorker — unpretentious, to the point, and sometimes frustratingly obtuse.
Choice topics that Winogrand discusses with the students in the room are why Bruce Davidson is downright awful, why SLR cameras are pointless, and how he would “just as soon not exist.” It’s great, and often hilarious. As he talks, often cryptically, you can feel the frustration coming from the students who want desperately to hear some artful philosophizing. But what you get instead is something much more honest and grounded.
Documents like these are few and far between, without the filter of a producer or interviewer’s editing. Despite Winogrand’s eccentricities, you can really learn a lot. If you don’t have two hours to spare, here is a highlight version of the video.
And if you want to brush up on Winogrand’s work. Fraenkel Gallery has a good set of images to view online.