On Garry Winogrand

As I age I believe my work speaks truer to what I need to express. I’ve been lucky to have met many of the photographers that influence my work in some way.

As a young man while in school, I worked part time in a large camera store where I sold darkroom equipment and supplies. Sooner or later someone of note would come in to purchase paper and chemicals. Our store, Camera Barn, always had deals on slightly outdated paper. Perfect for contact printing. Such was the case with Garry Winogrand. I can remember it was an early Saturday morning. The shop was open for about an hour when I heard the floor manager say, “Hey Garry! So good to see you. How have you been?”. I looked up from behind the counter and there was Garry Winogrand. Short, stout, with his now famous worn chrome Leica M4 around his neck and a small bag on his shoulder.

He walked over towards my counter, looked at our current paper special sitting on the floor in front of my counter. He purchased a few hundred dollars worth of paper. “Perfect for contact printing.” he said. Being the somewhat shy person I was at the time, I actually took this job to help get me out of my skin, I never really said a word to him. The floor manager was there anyway making small talk while the transaction was taking place. I never had the chance to say anything other than “Thank you”.

I meant that in ways he could not fathom.

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Me in the middle above. Camera Barn circa 1980. Harry to my right and David Goldberg to my left.

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Garry Winogrand.

Published by Keith Goldstein

Photographer, husband, dad, and passionate cyclist. Lives and works in New York City.

7 thoughts on “On Garry Winogrand

  1. I frequented the Camera Barn in those days, and haunted Willoughby- Peerless, Olden Camera and Spiratone. I probably wouldn’t have recognized Garry Winogrand if I’d bumped in to him though! Maybe I met you.

      1. Yep, I started with 47th St photo, back in the days when they were a single aisle on 47th between B’way and 6th Avenue- bought my first SLR there with Bar Mitzvah gelt in 1970. Then regularly haunted all the stores advertising in the back of Modern and Popular Photography. Especially liked Camera Barn and Olden where you could rummage through bins of odds and ends. Would probably have been in and out of all of them every few months through the early 80s when I first got married and my photography lay dormant for some years. We probably did at least see each other….

      2. I really miss those days. Camera Barn’s basement, the one on 32nd between 6th and 7th, was something else. On Saturday mornings, I would be asked along with a fellow co-worker, to bring up bins or stuff we could put in them, and put them out on the sales floor. Kind of an exciting era that many today haven’t experienced. Oh yes, the back of Modern and Pop Photo was hours for me to peruse. I loved Modern’s December issue with reviews of current cameras.

      3. I worked for about 2 weeks in the Robbins Menswear on 32nd & Broadway in the summer of ‘74, right next to Olden and across the street from Camera Barn. Halcyon days….

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