15 May Dyer on Winogrand
Last night I went to see Geoff Dyer talk about his Winogrand book at Duke. It was a very interesting talk- during which he focused on a set of images of women walking together- as if they were the same women years apart. When I did my mall project I had a crappy camera and an even crappier lens (I think a sigma 35mm 3.5) I was shooting in low light with slow film and I was new at the game. This was pre-digital so I couldn’t check my exposure and the film had very little latitude- all of this to say “I’m no Winogrand”- but I was influenced by and enamored of his work. In 1985 or 86 my mom came home with the Times Sunday Magazine story about Winogrand and it really exploded my sense of what photography was and could be. Dwyer talked a lot about the kind of stories that flow from the images of Winogrand- and pointed out that he famously said that one can’t figure out from a single still image what’s going on- i.e. is the person taking off their hat or putting it on- but a group of images can tell something. Before I saw Winogrand’s images I was interested in what Ansel Adams did- but I didn’t really like it- there was something a bit too precious about it- and while I am bowled over by some of Winogrand’s more epic images- I also appreciate the ones deemed less perfect. I’ve always been drawn towards art that doesn’t do exactly what it’s supposed to do. I don’t care if it’s perfect- and in fact if it is “perfect” it’s kind of boring. I like Sonic Youth a lot more than I like Boston- but I can still understand and appreciate the value of Bosotn…. sort of. In any case the talk reminded me that even on my first roll of film in the mall I shot several of groups of women marching through the Smith Haven Mall- and here are a few – plus a couple bonus images for good measure. This is the first project I ever did- and it is intimately connected to all that came after it. I made this work before I stumbled on Invisible city..