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The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand

The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand

In the tradition of John Szarkowski’s classic book Atget, award-winning author Geoff Dyer writes one hundred essays about one hundred photographs, including previously unpublished color work, by renowned street photographer Garry Winogrand.

March 2018
Out of stock indefinitely
240 pages | 10 x 12 | 22 color photos, 90 b&w photos |

Garry Winogrand—along with Diane Arbus and Lee Friedlander—was one of the most important photographers of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as one of the world’s foremost street photographers. Award-winning writer Geoff Dyer has admired Winogrand’s work for many years. Modeled on John Szarkowski’s classic book Atget, The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand is a masterfully curated selection of one hundred photographs from the Winogrand archive at the Center for Creative Photography, with each image accompanied by an original essay.

Dyer takes the viewer/reader on a wildly original journey through both iconic and unseen images from the archive, including eighteen previously unpublished color photographs. The book encompasses most of Winogrand’s themes and subjects and remains broadly faithful to the chronological and geographical facts of his life, but Dyer’s responses to the photographs are unorthodox, eye-opening, and often hilarious. This inimitable combination of photographer and writer, images and text, itself offers what Dyer claims for Winogrand’s photography—an education in seeing.


Los Angeles, California

Dyer’s many books include The Ongoing Moment (winner of the International Center of Photography’s prestigious Infinity Award for Writing/Criticism), But Beautiful (winner of the Somerset Maugham Prize), Out of Sheer Rage (shortlisted for a National Book Critics Circle Award), The Missing of the Somme, the novel Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, and the essay collection Otherwise Known as the Human Condition (winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award). His latest book is White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World. A recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship, the E. M. Forster Prize and, most recently, the Windham-Campbell Prize for nonfiction, Dyer is an honorary fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford; a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature; and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His books have been translated into twenty-four languages. Dyer is currently writer-in-residence at the University of Southern California.


“Geoff Dyer writes books that are easy to enjoy but hard to pin down. . . [His] refusal to be hemmed in (not to mention the cheerful indifference to his own best-laid plans) is what makes Dyer the ideal partner for Winogrand, who hated the term “street photography” even as his name became synonymous with it.”
New York Times

“Physically imposing and visually sumptuous.”
New York Times, Editor's Choice

“When I next want to recall instantly why Winogrand is essential, an exemplar of what photography can disclose about reality and our secret, public selves, Dyer’s will be the first book I reach for.”
New York Review of Books

“An amazing tome of street-style photographs from the legendary documentarian’s 1960s to 1980s archives.”
Town & Country

“Dyer’s riffs are both playful and illuminating, and will make you look anew at the work of a man who once said: “I’m a photographer, a still photographer. That’s it.” As this book reminds us, it isn't.”
The Guardian

“A truly fascinating read.”
Tucson Weekly

“A wildly original journey through both iconic and unseen images from Winogrand's vast archive, with responses to the photographs that are unorthodox, funny and eye-opening.”
University of Arizona News

“A luxurious meditation on the many ways in which the photographer’s remarkable images work. . . there is no one quite as well matched to give voice to Winogrand’s work as Dyer does in this exquisitely layered and thoughtful book.”

“Dyer and Winogrand co-exist effortlessly, both frenetically productive cranks with commitment issues, whether in theme or form. At its best moments, Street Philosophy embraces the undirected, and uncaring, genius of both its writer and its subject—”In spite—and because of what’s going on, it’s impossible to tell what’s going on,” Dyer writes at one point—and the book is better for it.”
Pacific Standard

“Handsomely designed. . . Dyer provides entertaining commentary for each photo, coaxing possible meanings from the anonymous individuals caught by Winogrand in moments of time.”
Milwaukee Shepherd Express

“Nicely designed, inviting throughout, and superbly printed…In a sense, every photograph is a double exposure, the time of when it was taken and the times when it is being looked at. We can occupy both times at once when we immerse ourselves in this appealing book.”
Easy Reader News

“Inspiring and unusual…the kind of book that you sit down and read, cover to cover, the first time, and then return to, often, to open the book at random to appreciate just one image and a short essay for inspiration.”
Lens Culture

“I found The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand so compelling that I devoured it from cover to cover twice, in two mesmerizing sittings…[Winogrand's] work comes across now all the more powerfully for being embraced by one of our outstandingly accomplished writers and critics.”
Studies in Photography

The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand is a book to digest in small bites. Then you can really appreciate Dyer's subtle humor, wide-ranging aesthetic sense, and quirky insights. But wear your boots, because it can get a bit deep at times.”
PhotoBook Journal

“Dyer has cracked open a window on Winogrand that’s always been there but never been opened.”
Jeffrey Fraenkel, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

“Geoff Dyer is so open to every aspect of art that when he turns his eyes and heart to the photography of Garry Winogrand we get the full benefit of his education, his insight, and the transparency of his prose, and we cherish the fact that his voice lives in our head for a moment to intensify and elucidate—but never explain—why these images mean so much.”
Matthew Weiner, creator of Mad Men

“Geoff Dyer has created a kind of Rosetta Stone, the key to deciphering Winogrand . . . how Winogrand becomes Winogrand. This book is a revelatory pleasure from beginning to end, a lesson in the pleasure of seeing. It is a smart book, but it’s a wise book, too.”
Alex Harris, Duke University, coeditor of Arrivals and Departures: The Airport Photographs of Garry Winogrand

“This handsome collection amounts to an extensive tour of Winogrand’s photographs conducted by a savvy, observant, and highly entertaining guide. No longer still, Winogrand’s images are animated here by the turns and jumps of Geoff Dyer’s lively commentary.”
Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate of the United States

“I can’t think of any other book quite like this one: an entirely new, and quite unfamiliar, take on Winogrand and a welcome addition to the work on this iconic photographer. I found the book to be a terrifically good read, as well as a refreshing and innovative take on an artist whose work I thought I knew well.”
Corey Keller, curator of photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art