When I first met my husband, 29 years ago, I knew much less about photography. He showed me his own work, but began telling me about the people who had influenced him, illustrating his discussion with pictures from the carefully-selected collection of photography books on his bookshelf. He had studied with Minor White (who he respected but didn't particularly like as a teacher) and with Joseph Losey, the film director (who he did like, very much). He admired the work of Walker Evans, August Sander, Disfarmer, and Dorothea Lange, up through contemporary photographers like Emmett Gowin. His real love, though, was street photography, beginning with the in-the-moment photography of Cartier-Bresson and continuing right through the contemporary American realists.
It was inevitable that we'd end up with Gary Winogrand. I was startled and fascinated by Winogrand's eye, his prolific shooting, his quirkiness. Winogrand was to die much too young, at 56, in 1984, leaving a huge volume of undeveloped film and a legacy of brilliantly-observed moments. Last fall, at MOMA, it was wonderful to be in the photography galleries with my husband and a close friend, also a fine photographer, when she discovered Winogrand for the first time, and to see the look on her face and hear her exclamations as she moved from image to image.
So I was happy to find an account, the other day, about what Winogrand was like as a teacher. Coffee and Workprints: A Workshop with Gary Winogrand was written by Mason Resnick, a former editor of Modern Photography. It definitely sounds like he captured the person who must have been behind that camera. RR, this is for you.
(You can view a slideshow of two dozen of Gary Winogrand's images at the website of Fraenkel Gallery, which represents his estate.)