Drifting and striding, in Hollywood and elsewhere, with Geoff Nicholson - author of The Lost Art of Walking, and Walking in Ruins withcholson, author of Toff Nidrifting and stomping withcholson, author of The Lost Art of Walking, considers the narrower and wider shores of obsessive pedestrianism.
Showing posts with label Geoff Dyer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Geoff Dyer. Show all posts

Thursday, April 5, 2018


I just reviewed Geoff Dyer’s The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand – there’s a link below at the end of this post – so I’ve been thinking a lot about Winogrand and street photography.

Neither the book nor the review discusses walking per se, but as a street photographer, Winogrand obviously did a lot of walking, as I suppose all street photographers must.  We tend to think of his “beat” as being in Manhattan but he traveled widely and spent time in LA.  Here he is on Hollywood Boulevard; the photograph is by Ted Pushinsky.

And here’s his most famous Hollywood Boulevard picture:

Towards the end of his life (whether he knew that he was coming to the end of his life is a moot point) he moved to Los Angeles and since he was suffering from a slow to recover broken leg, he had people drive him around and he took photographs out of the car window.

In a sense this seems like no way for a street photographer to operate, and his “strike rate” for good pictures seems to have been pretty low at this stage, but it did result in pictures such as the one above.  And this one:

That link is here: 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


If I look up from my desk and peer across the room, my eyes inevitably fall on a poster of one of my favourite images by one of my favourite photographers.  It’s Garry Winogrand’s image of two women at LAX airport walking toward what’s known as the Theme Building.  It looks like this:

In fact Winogrand took a great many of my favourite photographs.  He was, you’d say, a street photographer (one of those terms that seems to mean less and less the more you say it), and in the course of his work he did a lot of walking and photographed a lot of other walkers.  He’s usually associated with New York, but he took a lot of pictures in LA too.

He even took some in London.  The received wisdom is that his London photographs weren’t as good as his American ones, that his great skill was seeing a familiar environment with fresh eyes: when confronted by an unfamiliar environment this freshness disappeared and he was reduced to taking pictures of guardsmen or men in bowler hats.  Still, I’m very taken by the odd familiarity and strangeness of this one, titled Woman Entering a Cab, London:

 Winogrand did like shooting women in the street, so to speak, which in these days of the demonized male gaze seems a dodgy activity at best, but hell he had nothing on Miroslav Tichý.  I love Geoff Dyer’s description of Tichý’s working method,  “he spent his time perving around Kyjov, photographing women.” Well yes indeed.  I suppose Winogrand’s method was less pervy because it was less sneaky, though I know there are those who’d find this an overfine distinction.

Street photography has been much on my mind lately, having been hunkered down with Reuel Golden’s London: Portrait of a City, a grand photobook, showing London, its people and inevitably its walkers, from Oswald Mosley to the Kray Twins.  Full disclosure: I am mentioned approvingly therein. One picture that particularly stays with me, is the one below by Cecil Beaton, not really pervy I suppose, since it’s obviously a set up with a model, and because the photographer’s perviness was directed elsewhere.

I like taking pictures, I do it all the time, and I’m a good enough photographer to know I’m not a very good photographer. But once in a while I take a photograph that makes me happy.  Here is the best walking I've taken in a very long time, but Garry Winogrand,  I know it ain’t.