Granted that simplicity is a virtue; beyond this it is too complex a matter to generalize about with impunity. One might add with reasonable confidence that simple does not mean vacuous, obvious, plain, habitual, formulated, banal, or empty.
The ability to produce pictures richly complex in their description would seem to be intrinsic to photography; indeed, this characteristic might almost be considered a simple fact of the medium. Nevertheless, much of the best energy of photographers during the past seventy years has been dedicated to the task of thinning out the rank growth of information that the camera impartially records if left to its own devices, in favor of pictures which have been --- for lack of a better word --- simpler. This has been achieved in many ways: by printing techniques that have allowed radical manipulation, by soft-focus lenses, stage lighting, high-contrast negatives, exaggerated grain, corrective filters, or worm's- or bird's-eye perspectives; by photographing details close up, or two-dimensional subjects (such as old walls); or simply by printing the picture very dark or very light. Stated this baldly these various experiments sound less interesting and less productive (and simpler) than they were in historical fact. In practice the struggle for visual coherence is continuous; when one problem is solved, a more difficult one rises in its place.
In photography the formal issue might be stated as this: How much of the camera's miraculous descriptive power is the photographer capable of handling? Or how much complexity can he make simple? Or, conversely, how much diversity must he sacrifice for the sake of order?
Consider Garry Winogrand's picture: so rich in fact and suggestion, and so justly resolved, more complex and more beautiful than the movie that Alfred Hitchcock might derive from it.
from "Looking at Photographs" by John Szarkowski
Szarkowski, director of MOMA's photography department, cultivated Winogrand and, after his death in 1984, was left with the task of editing 6500 rolls of unprinted (and 2500 rolls of undeveloped) 35mm negatives (about 300,000 unedited images altogether). Nine stages of Winogrand's work are presented chronologically here and in a traveling exhibition, along with a sizable selection of "unfinished" later work described by Szarkowski as "deeply flawed" and "pointless."
The first publication to focus on the street photos at the core of Winogrand's work, this collection features numerous shots that have never before been printed. 107 duotones.
Public Relations is a distillation of a photographic project begun by Garry Winogrand in 1969 when he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to photograph what he called "the effect of media on events." With his characteristic zeal, passion, spontaneity, and intensity, Winogrand photographed an array of public events including museum openings, press conferences, sports games, demonstrations, award ceremonies, a birthday party, and a moon shot.
The Animals is a classic photo book by the incessant, masterful photographer Garry Winogrand, reissued in a new edition by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, which first published the book in 1968. In it, Winogrand leaves the streets of the city for the caged aisles of the real urban jungle, the zoo, where he captures some of the more humiliating and strange moments in the lives of God's creatures.
- Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts.