"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."— Garry Winogrand
When a city is still intact, its streets are not merely traffic arteries but places where people meet and greet each other, a theater where neighbors and passersby make their entrances and exits—the world stage begins right outside our front door. Winogrand viewed this stage from ever-different angles, exchanging the psychologist's lens for that of the amused flåneur or the social commentator.
He focused just as much on street artists and parades with acrobats performing on a trampoline as he did on random, anecdotal moments, looking passersby in the face or capturing their hurrying steps in experimentally daring excerpts.
Yet unlike William Klein, he kept a respectful distance. Equally diverse are the images Winogrand collected on the road during cross-country trips. He found motifs even in curves of the highway, house driveways, on sidewalks, or glimpses into an open convertible. Many of these pictures add up to an anatomy of American society.
Those taken in the late 1960s in particular reflect a country divided against itself, when a state dinner for the Apollo astronauts and upper-class balls and receptions are followed by Vietnam demonstrations and election candidates' public appearances. Winogrand was also very influential as a teacher, holding countless workshops, teaching at over a dozen colleges and universities, and serving as instructor in Austin, Chicago, and several institutions in New York.
Excerpt taken from 50 Photographers You Should Know by Peter Stepan