Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable at the Film Forum

A short, not sweet review of the film by Sasha Waters Freyer

I liked this film overall. I LOVED seeing his work so large on the screen in the theatre, so amazingly deft and dense and full of visual  energy. His observations keen; his timing perfect.

It was also interesting to see his color work, the warm tones of late day sunlight especially, and the 8mm films, slowed down. Stealthily filming a man wolfing down a hot dog, a man drinking coffee, doing ordinary daily life activities. But the films are banal compared to the brilliance of Winogrand's B&W stills, so full of energy. Acute observation and timing skills that managed to let you see all he was seeing/framing.

I HATED the animation between the scenes. Totally “cute” and unnecesary.

Everyone in Winogrand's photos is doing “the dance" as Geoff Dyer said. Dyer was one of several   Talking Heads including Todd Papageorge, Matthew Weiner, Laurie Simmons, Leo Rubenfein, Erin O’Toole and Tom Roma.  (Roma appeared twice or three times ….Really?) Sorry, it bothered me to see him get so much time and attention in Winogrand’s film, whereas Paul McDonough, a photographer and friend who actually shot with him on those same streets in the 1960s (along with Papageorge) was not interviewed or even mentioned. That is a shame, not to mention disrespectful.

Also I think the filmmaker might have done more delving into Winogrand's Austin years at the University of Texas, where he had an incredible effect on the photography community. There are past students and colleagues from that time (David Newman, Michelle Campbell, .ie) who shot with him on the streets etc. and who could have opened a whole other conversation about his teaching methods and visual influence on them.  Filmmaker could have done a little more research.

The movie makes a point about his last work being stronger than those posthumous shows might have us believe. And the filmmaker made a good case for that.  And, truth be told, at his rate of shooting and his manic desire to record life, he couldn’t have possibly kept up with the processing--- shooting was his passion first.  For a prolific photographer like Winogrand, the amount of time to develop and print no less edit and reprint & sit on things is enormous and when your time on earth is limited…. You have to let it go and hope your heirs will sort it out. So far they have been doing their best.