Winner of the 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival Photography/Art Book Award, Dan Winters’ America: Icons and Ingenuity is the first retrospective of the career of this talented artist. Winters has spent more than two decades creating memorable photographs for such publications as the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, GQ, and Rolling Stone. Best known for his iconic celebrity portraits, Winters has photographed public figures ranging from the Dalai Lama to President Barack Obama, Hollywood celebrities from Leonardo DiCaprio to Helen Mirren, and artistic luminaries from Jeff Koons to William Christenberry. His style of portraiture is instantly recognizable, characterized by impeccable lighting, muted backgrounds, and the contemplative postures of his sitters.
Winters’ lifelong fascination with science, technology, and human ingenuity finds similar expression in significant groups of photographs: close-up studies of honeybees and airplanes and a magnificent series devoted to the last three launches of NASA’s space shuttles. These photographs reveal an aspect of Winters’ career that is less familiar than his commercial work but equally compelling.
In addition to the popular icons, America includes expressions of Winters’ personal vision. This lyrical body of work shows the same keen eye for lighting and composition, but with a decidedly more intimate ambiance: photographs of his wife and son, spare cityscapes, and elegant collages.
America: Icons and Ingenuity also includes a biographical essay that traces his development in a varied and productive career that is, itself, a work in progress.
Austin, Texas; Los Angeles, California; and Savannah, Georgia
Dan Winters began his career as a photojournalist in Ventura County, California. After winning several regional awards, he moved to New York City and began to work as an editorial photographer. He is widely recognized for his unique celebrity portraiture, scientific photography, drawings, collages, and photojournalism.
Winters has been the recipient of more than one hundred national and international awards. In 1998, he received the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography; in 2003, he received a World Press Photo Award and was honored by Kodak as a photographic “icon” in their Legends series.
Winters has been the subject of seven solo exhibitions in galleries in New York City, Los Angeles, Rome, and Savannah. His most recent book, Last Launch, was published in 2012.
Winters’ work is represented in many private and public collections, such as the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.; the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University.
COURTNEY A. MCNEIL is Curator of Art at Telfair Museums in Savannah, Georgia.
JOHN GRZYWACZ-GRAY is Professor Emeritus of Photography at Moorpark College in Moorpark, California.
"I have been asked to describe this photographer with 1,000 words. Given the profound affection I feel towards him and his work, it will be a challenge to wrap it up so briefly. Humor, beauty, erudition, skill, generosity, fun. There’s six . . . Dan’s portraits of human beings, from anonymous citizens to luminaries, are deceptively simple renderings of personality and nuance. They are pregnant with pathos. I’ve never seen photos of celebrities that made them seem like such, well, human beings. He suggests that the viewer really think about the person depicted, in a different way than we’ve been taught by modern fashion. His haunting plates of honeybees are shot with the efficient scrutiny of the entomologist combined with a surrealist’s élan. The works on paper are laced with specific meaning and emotional truth, in turn beautiful, humorous, and chilling. He takes on sumi-e black ink painting and writes an entire poem with three strokes of his brush. The longer I’ve known Dan Winters, the more I am astonished at the breadth of his ability to convey relevant and powerful emotions with his images."
—Nick Offerman, TIME LightBox