Garry Winogrand (1928 - 1984) A visionary who pushed the boundaries of composition to capture authentic scenes on the street. One of the most prolific street photographers of his generation. Nobody captured better visual commentaries on modern life than Winogrand. The great curator, critic, and photographer John Szarkowski said - Winogrand is the central photographer of his generation

Garry Winogrand was an American street photographer, born in the Bronx NY in 1928. Known best for his extremely sophisticated photographic observations of everyday American life through the 60s & 70’s, many regard him as one of the most influential street photographers ever. Curious and inquisitive about his surroundings, and with a shoulder bag full of film, Winogrand never held back in capturing real moments on the streets, at the fair, rodeo, airports -- everywhere. Winogrand didn’t take time messing with dials and rings, he didn’t take time to carefully compose his images. When he flung his Leica to his eye, he didn’t study framing through the lens but composed instantaneously and impulsively on the go. His wonky lines, for example, help to emphasize the speed in which Winogrand found and photographed fleeting moments. Classical compositions didn’t fit with his vision of what a street photograph should be. It wasn’t about making pretty pictures, it was about finding and transforming the real world into something completely different, a distinct image that is more dramatic than what was photographed.

“When I’m photographing I see life.”

“A photograph can look anyway. It just depends basically on what you photograph.”

“You have a lifetime to learn technique. But I can teach you what is more important than technique, how to see; learn that and all you have to do afterwards is press the shutter.”


Shoot Alone - You won’t get anything real if 5 of you are shooting the same scene. You’re always better when you can mentally get into the streets without friends (the and the discussions you creating from being around them) Find it, claim it, work it. Those walking alongside should make way and observe from a distance. Notice how your friend is working and give feedback.

Be Spontaneous - Have a base setting prepared and work on instant reactions to fleeting moments. This is an area where straight horizons and perfect compositions might take away from the spontaneity and kill the image.

Anticipate Moments - What are the people doing, what will they do next, how will the scene in front of you change. If you can anticipate what’s coming next, you will have a better chance of getting the shot.

Work the Scene - Don’t take one shot if you can take two. Work the scene and try to develop the composition

Confused Amateur - fumble with your camera whilst keeping it close to your eyes, this is a great tool to ward off suspicious eyes when you’re working in others peoples personal space

Stay and Observe - A little like working the scene but the scene has not been found yet. Here you stand in a place of interest

(a busy street corner works very well) the interest can’t yet be defined but you like the area. Stay and try to find something, anticipate, adapt, and observe...see what you can get from 5mins in one place.

Get Closer - Whatever your comfort level is, go beyond it.

Use this if your mind is void of ideas on how to implement the drills.

1.Isolate an individual in a photograph

2.Photograph movement

3.Photograph 2+ separate social interactions/happenings in 1 frame

4.Photograph eyes. When somebody notices you capture that eye contact

5.Photograph within the personal/intimate space of others (get close)

6.Photograph a reality that epitomizes our times

7.Photograph an animal in a human environment

“It is every photographer's responsibility to discover new images and a new personal way of looking at things. If he can do this his pictures will command attention and have surprise quality.”

-Alexey Brodovitch (teacher/tutor of Winogrand)


Contemporary Photography in the USA (7.13)

Visions and Images (30.16) -

Q&A at Rice University (1.46.00) -

All Things Are Photographable (1.30.09) ($3.99 to rent) -


garry winogrand photo
garry winogrand