Garry Winogrand – “Public Relations”

In 1969, when awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship made to photograph “the effect of media on events“, Garry Winogrand started what he called later the “Public Relations” serie, an outcome of his fascination for rituals of a society eager for publicity.

Election campaigns, press conferences, rallies and strikes, museum openings, receptions in New York City: his pictures depicte every aspect of public or private events created to be documented, capturing with a wide-angle lens camera as much “informations” as possible. This aesthetical approach made him belong to experimental photography of the 60’s-70’s, forgetting about the frame and close-ups as if one single picture could sum up the whole event itself.

With this serie, the photographer documented the emerging hype of a society celebrating itself by the presence of the medias, phenomenon that was soon going to increase. But since then, the reports of public celebrations may have lost this initial excitement, aesthetic and narrative potential that Winogrand managed to capture in the 1970s on his 28mm films.

The “Public Relations” serie was first published to accompany a 1977 exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, with an essay by Tod Papageorge. Garry Winogrand, born in 1928 in NYC, died in in 1984 in Mexico.

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