Invoking the Ghost of Winogrand

I’ve been lurking on that thread lately and actually there are a couple of interesting things been said. I too dig that picture from Garry Winogrand very much, I believe it sums up what is Winogrand’s style in some way, to put it simply, not unlike the Hollywood Wine shot.

I have to confess that I tried myself to cut my teeth on the same “motif”, and I ended up with some interesting variations:

#1. Six women (well, including two young girls), but no man (there is the guy with his hand on his head in the BKG, I think he is mimicking the girl on right). The very problem here is that one woman is not on the bench (here is the variation idea) and focuses too much attention, that of the viewer (especially male viewers) and that of the other people in the shot. The Winogrand shot is more multidirectional for that matter. Also the background is very cluttered here. Not a bad shot anyway though it is a bit voyeuristic, but eh… Women Are Beautiful

#2. “Get closer”, that is Capa who said it. But it does not work very well here IMO, there is no convincing geometry in the shot, the energy is somewhat cramped. And the guy on right is making eye contact with me. Pfff….

#3. The opposite of “Get closer”. And you get a more diffuse and less aggressive shot. The overall set-up together with the big space between the two ‘couples’ (each being emphasized with a tree behind) gives the shot a more ‘social / documentary’ vibe. I like this one.

#4. The complicated stuff… Not one but two benches. And people in different orientation. That is the multidimensional idea of the Winogrand shot and IMO a not-so-stupid idea of variation, especially here with the two girls kind of gossiping and the two males very… male.

#5. Not all benches are straight. There are round benches too… But finally is a problem here because you can’t “close” the shot in a convincing way (Winogrand did it so brilliantly by cutting out the two men in both sides of his framing).

#6. Let’s try in the metro… A good set up, with not-so-bad background, good possibility of symmetry, you are at the level of the subject eye (hipshot not allowed) … What is needed now (and lacks here) is great body language, that makes the Winogrand shot priceless.

#7. Why not in portrait mode ?

#8. Another idea is to have a time marker in the shot. You can’t count too much on fashion because they are recurring every ten years or so (except the hair style of the 80’s). The most reliable time marker are cars. But a laptop (here) is good also. In about 5 years or so nobody will go outside with such a bulky stuff.

#9. The “family shot” variation. Here I bought an ice-cream to my two sons and told them to sit on the bench with the girls. Very convenient if you are afraid to shoot anonymous people with a wide angle.

#10. It is time to ask ourselves a crucial question about that Winogrand re-shot. Why women ? … so here I removed the six girls and we are left with two guys.

#11. Here I had THE background for a Winogrand re-shot. But that couple has had the wrong idea to occupy the bench…

#12. The ‘singularity’ variation.

#13. The nihilist variation. Unless this one is the ethereal and romantic variation.

#14. Finally I was lucky enough to have the same six girls from the Winogrand shot together again on a bench, 46years later. The body language and interaction is not the same, but there is an obvious nostalgia here.

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