Garry Winogrand pt. 2 (COVID-Edition)

It’s been a while since I last wrote about Garry Winogrand, but I wanted to share a brief update on my attempt at emulating him. Garry was known for nearly shooting from the hip. Nearly. He brought the camera up and quickly snapped his pictures. It didn’t even seem like he had time to focus, adjust aperture and shutter speed. But he did. Mr. Winogrand often shot with high speed film, like Ilford Delta 3200.

During a recent trip to Salem, MA, Anna and I explored the city known for the Salem Witch Trials and Salem Fire of 1914. In doing so, I decided to try my hand at just one of Garry’s characteristics. I didn’t have Delta 3200 on me and I was using my Canon EOS 650 (autofocus capability) with a 50mm lens (not Garry approved). But I tried just taking pictures of people as they walked around Witch City Mall. My actions were quick and devoid of second thoughts. I wanted to capture simple moments. For that, I think Garry Winogrand would appreciate it.

These are unedited images. I’m not sure how Winogrand-esque they are. I noticed Garry Winogrand shot with people’s faces towards him. His work focused on their emotions and how they were in that specific moment. My images here are a study of people’s walk: their stature, pace, style. Who was in the biggest hurry? Who was just out to enjoy the beautiful day? You can tell by the middle picture that it was bright, 75, and a perfect day…just not for photography (not too many clouds out).

Salem is full of culture. Known for the witch trials of 1692, where 19 people were hung, Salem still seems to have that event hanging around them. There’s certainly a weight that is felt, a heaviness in the air. But that’s not all the city has to offer. Salem is known for the origins of the National Guard, trade from the East Indies, and art. We spent the day exploring for 8 miles. We found the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, Proctor’s Ledge, Mercy’s Tavern, Friendship, and everything in between.

I did not go to Salem to practice my Garry Winogrand technique. We were focused more on architecture of old buildings, history, and the beautiful weather. Therefore, this is not my final entry in this log. But I did get a taste of taking random pictures on the street. And I found it fun, a little odd to snap images of people randomly, but it was an exercise in going outside my comfort zone. I look forward to our next adventure where I can really test my Winogrand style. I want to use a 28mm lens, shoot through 2 rolls of film, and follow the other Winograndian goals I originally set.

If you decide to visit Salem, make sure to take in the sights, appreciate the history, and eat the Mercy Burger (at Mercy’s Tavern).

Thanks for reading!

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