Garry Winogrand – Ideas and Inspiration Part One

Santa tracked down a copy of Garry Winogrand’s “Figments from the Real World” for me last Christmas, and managed to fit in my stocking! As part of trying to get going creatively again, I pulled out the book for the first time as a creative kickstarter. So what did I learn from spending some time with Garry?

Scan 2


1. Tilt the Camera to Create a More Dynamic Feel

Early in my exploration of photography, my wife would often pick up my camera and crack a couple of shots quickly that always seemed to look fantastic. She is a graphic designer by trade, and is very creatively gifted. She would often use very simple techniques to instantly make her images pop. An easy, early thing I picked up from her was to tilt the camera to make the perspective a bit more interesting and unexpected.

I have posted before about avoiding shooting from 5ft 9in – head height – to make images more interesting. You see the world from somewhere around this mark. Showing things from a new angle can help.

The first thing that struck me in Winogrand’s book was the number of images that were shot with a tilt. A quick review of my most recent images revealed I had completely forgotten about this technique. Even though the header image on the Inconspicuosity – Melbourne Street Photography facebook page features this exact thing!


In the next image, Winogrand massively increases the dynamic feel by tilting the frame again. The movement throughout the image is highlighted and magnified by the angle. In both images, the tilt is very much defined by vertical lines. In the top image, the girl forms a vertical line with the building pillar. The football image has both the vertical lines on the ground and the imposing horizontal line of the stadium stand. The combination of the two sets of lines ensures the tilt is pronounced and very obvious. It almost brings a feeling of being on ship rocking on a rough ocean?

Scan 3


2. Don’t Fear the Crop

I guess I worry about stuff too much. Making sure the frame is level, making sure nothing crops out… The next image uses both an angle and crops the subject unexpectedly, bringing a halting feeling to bear. Bringing a new perspective to scene that the viewer might not normally see can make an image more interesting.

Scan 7


One of my favourite images from my recent trip to Hong Kong had an accidental crop that I ended up pretty happy with.


3. Don’t Always Sweat the Focus


This post is starting to become about me chilling the heck out on focusing on technical stuff. The next one is remembering that focus can be over-rated! In the image above, Winogrand uses the lack of focus to create a feel of looking into a new world.

I am not sure if he is using a reflection or shooting through a window or similar?

Anyway, more to come from Winogrand soon!




2 Responses to “Garry Winogrand – Ideas and Inspiration Part One”

  1. i always say that if one need to shift the camera and to dizz the perspective to 90 degrees – the moment not speaking by itself. some beginners do this trick for every single image and other part of people are always in delight of the “stunning” photography but you know – everything with a ketchup will get the taste of this ketchup. sorry for saying this below the image of Garry – also master did good photos and less good photos. maybe some of “less good photos” they wanted to delete and never to show to public – but today who ask them.
    anyway – of course just my point of view, no more.



  1. Structuring a Weekend Session | Inconspicuosity - July 27, 2015

    […] month’s “teacher” for me is Garry Winogrand, which you can read about here. The key techniques were […]


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