I was rather excited when I saw that the Monte Clark Gallery in Vancouver was exhibiting photos by Garry Winogrand and Larry Clark and armed with a tiny notebook, pencil and my little point and shoot camera tucked into a pocket and my crutches (still recovering from that knee replacement surgery) I persuaded my husband to drive me to the gallery so I could view the exhibition.
I picked up the information sheet at the door and approached the exhibition hall excitedly. As I approached I could only see one solitary photograph against a huge blank expanse of wall, but then noticed the wall text on the lintel of the archway. Only then did I notice the exhibition – literally tucked away in a corner.
What was the point of putting the wall text in the door way about 50 feet away from the photographs? One has to wonder at that. And the solitary photo by Larry Clark of the boy also so far removed from the other photos … supposedly the boy is looking back at all the women in the corner according to the handout. Surely this could also have been achieved if Winogrand’s photos had been spread out.
Of course Winogrand’s work is always interesting and excellent, but it definitely does not do his work justice to be exhibited all bunched up in a corner. The photos were taken between 1969 and 1980. Tent dresses and bell bottom trousers were clearly a fashion statement item in the late 1960’s. How well I remember those days! My favourite image is one of two girls pushing their bikes across an intersection with a “Don’t walk” sign lit up behind them. Clearly they are aware of Winogrand as they are looking straight at the camera in defiant stare, clearly aware they are breaking traffic laws. The photo has slight Dutch tilt to it which seems to emphasis this defiance. What I did find rather intriguing is that Winogrand thinks nothing of cutting off a portion someone’s head or body, subject or not, and somehow this seems to work for him. I always get so hung up on where body parts are cropped, but maybe I should loosen up a bit and just go wild as he does.
Garry Winogrand’s portfolio of photographs entitled Women are better than men. Not only have they survived, they do prevail alongside a photograph by Larry Clark. [online]. Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver. Available from: http://www.monteclarkgallery.com/exhibition_images.php?id=458 [Accessed 28 July, 2015]