Garry Winogrand was one of the last great street photojournalists. He was a populist photographer, a real egalitarian, and his photographs of people on the street show that any face can be interesting. Yet in a way his style is difficult, because the world he depicts is often so quotidian that you yourself wouldn’t stop to look at it. In his photographs of the street, the suburbs, airports, the rodeo, he shows a piece of American life where, to his credit, there’s no desire to be aesthetic, to be lovely: he’s just there, he records.
“The art of photography is deliciously impure: its aesthetic triumphs and traditions are inescapably enmeshed in the messy world of work.” So writes Peter Galassi, curator of “Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century,” the Museum of Modern Art’s ambitious new exhibition devoted to the work of one of the most brilliant photographers of the twentieth century.
Coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of Robert Frank’s The Americans, the exhibition “Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans” is on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City through January 3, 2010. Dominique Nabokov—whose own photographs appear regularly in The New York Review—saw the exhibition both in New York and in Washington, where it originated at the National Gallery of Art. Recently, she stopped by the office to talk about why Frank’s photographs are not only still relevant but also a “miraculous” body of work.