Garry Winogrand, Los Angeles, ca.1980

Enj0y this collection of quotes by photographer Gary Winogrand.

“Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed.” – Garry Winogrand

“The photo is a thing in itself. And that’s what still photography is all about.” – Garry Winogrand

“I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed.” – Garry Winogrand

“I have a burning desire to see what things look like photographed by me.” – Garry Winogrand

“Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts.” – Garry Winogrand

“In the end, maybe the correct language would be how the fact of putting four edges around a collection of information or facts transforms it. A photograph is not what was photographed, it’s something else.” – Garry Winogrand

“The photograph should be more interesting or more beautiful than what was photographed.” – Garry Winogrand

“There is nothing as mysterious as a fact clearly described I like to think of photographing as a two way act of respect. Respect for the medium, by letting it do what it does best, describe. And respect for the subject, by describing it as it is. A photograph must be responsible to both.” – Garry Winogrand

“What I write here is a description of what I have come to understand about photography, from photographing and from looking at photographs. A work of art is that thing whose form and content are organic to the tools and materials that made it. Still photography is a chemical, mechanical process. Literal description or the illusion of literal description, is what the tools and materials of still photography do better than any other graphic medium. A still photograph is the illusion of a literal description of how a camera saw a piece of time and space. Understanding this, one can postulate the following theorem: Anything and all things are photographable. A photograph can only look like how the camera saw what was photographed. Or, how the camera saw the piece of time and space is responsible for how the photograph looks. Therefore, a photograph can look any way. Or, there’s no way a photograph has to look (beyond being an illusion of a literal description). Or, there are no external or abstract or preconceived rules of design that can apply to still photographs. I like to think of photographing as a two-way act of respect. Respect for the medium, by letting it do what it does best, describe. And respect for the subject, by describing as it is. A photograph must be responsible to both.” – Garry Winogrand

“Photographers mistake the emotion they feel while taking the picture as judgment that the photograph is good.” – Garry Winogrand

“If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up.”- Garry Winogrand

“You see something happening and you bang away at it. Either you get what you saw or you get something else – and whichever is better you print.” – Garry Winogrand

“There is no special way a photograph should look.” – Garry Winogrand

“A photograph can look any way.” – Garry Winogrand

“Every photograph is a battle of form versus content.” – Garry Winogrand

“Photos have no narrative content. They only describe light on surface.” – Garry Winogrand

“For me the true business of photography is to capture a bit of reality (whatever that is) on film… if, later, the reality means something to someone else, so much the better.” – Garry Winogrand

“I don’t have messages in my pictures…The true business of photography is to capture a bit of reality (whatever that is) on film.” – Garry Winogrand

“I don’t have anything to say in any picture. My only interest in photography is to see what something looks like as a photograph. I have no preconceptions.” – Garry Winogrand

“I get totally out of myself. It’s the closest I come to not existing, I think, which is the best – which is to me attractive.” – Garry Winogrand

“I really try to divorce myself from any thought of possible use of this stuff. That’s part of the discipline. My only purpose while I’m working is to try to make interesting photographs, and what to do with them is another act – an alter consideration. Certainly while I’m working, I want them to be as useless as possible.” – Garry Winogrand

“No one moment is most important. Any moment can be something.” – Garry Winogrand

“The only thing that’s difficult is reloading when things are happening. Can you get it done fast enough?” – Garry Winogrand

“There are no photographs while I’m reloading” – Garry Winogrand

“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

“There are things I back off from trying to talk about, you know. Particularly my own work. Also, there may be things better left unsaid. At times I’d much rather talk about other (people’s) work.” – Garry Winogrand

“Great photography is always on the edge of failure.” – Garry Winogrand

 View 12 Great Photographs By Gary Winogrand here.

Read more in The Essential Collection Of Photographer’s Quotes.


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