Not the coherent myth of the American century but its unruly shadow

‘There’s a certain tenuousness to Winogrand’s photos; the compositions hold together, but just barely. He was conveying not the coherent myth of the American century, but its unruly shadow. Dyer’s accompanying texts wear their erudition lightly. He makes ample and appreciative use of Very Serious Ideas from the likes of Erich Fromm, Marshall Berman and Richard Sennett, but it’s the specifics in the pictures themselves that most excite his imagination.

‘Contemplating a 1968 photograph of New Yorkers walking through windy gusts of garbage that look like a ticker-tape parade gone awry, Dyer writes that it’s “as if, in a split-second, the celebrations of the achievements of the 1960s give way to the New York of garbage collectors’ strikes.” Read another away, the image is also a hint of the cutthroat corporate world to come, “the rat race in which no one can ever emerge as a winner but everyone is a potential loser.” ’

— Jennifer Szalai, ‘Geoff Dyer Takes to the Streets With Garry Winogrand


street-photography garry-winogrand