I consider myself a
meaning I’ve extensively studied Garry Winogrand’s work, philosophy, and personality more than I have any other photographer. There’s something so alluring with Winogrand. Whether it was his brashness or how he tackled a photographic problem, the guy took really good images.
Two — no — three things define Winogrand’s approach for me.
First, the photographer sees life, not pictures. From there we choose what information to include in the frame and let the photo take care of itself. Photography should not only be about making pretty pictures but seeing what life looks like, photographed.
Second, not to see the pictures we take as works of art, but rather as a way to learn something about the medium of photography.
And third, that the term ‘street photography’ is a stupidity. Said Winogrand, “I hate the term, I think it’s a stupid term, street photography. I don’t think it tells you anything about the photographer or work.”
This last point opened up possibilities for what I could do with photography. I realized I didn’t need to be limited to making images that required a person to walk past a colorful wall, or a portrait of a (seemingly obvious) homeless person, or the thousandth image of the Calgary cityscape. Once I stopped thinking about making ‘street’ photographs, I worked more toward making ‘interesting’ photographs. As Winogrand said, “There is nothing as mysterious as a fact clearly described”. By putting four edges around any set of facts, it can transform those facts into something that suspends your disbelief.
Alvin Paringit is an opportunist with a camera. He obsessively photographs everyday for no intentional use other than to find out how the next photograph will look like. See more of Alvin’s work at www.alvinp.ca or
@alvin.parangit on Instagram