The Winogrand Syndrome

Posted by George on March 13th, 2008 in Opinion


I have always wondered why Garry Winogrand left this world with a filing cabinet full of undeveloped rolls of film. (That’s him with his hands up.) I told John Szarkowski that he would not have wanted them developed, but I was overruled. That’s ok.

In the early days we hung out together. He always wanted to see what a day’s shooting looked like. In the fifties, we just used a magnifier to look at the negatives as soon as they were dry…contact sheets were a pain and we could read negatives.

Now I think I know why he left those films. I won’t be presumptuous and say I do know, but will offer this explanation because I am experiencing it myself.

After more than 60 years of shooting it is difficult to rationally add another roll of negatives to the binders in my fireproof safe. I print my own work and am ten years behind. You could suggest that I get a printer but that is not my style. I believe that Garry had a printer, but at one point even that doesn’t matter. It’s the old fashioned equivalent of the massive amount of information you get on your computer. You just can’t process it.

I still see photographs, but I don’t necessarily shoot them. Garry kept on shooting. Maybe he was more of an optimist than me.

I have enough chosen negatives to keep me busy for years to come…I hope!
I wish that he was here to have the same option.

montreal 2008

ps: Don’t believe everything you read. [I was shooting this afternoon.]



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