Last weekend I went to the SFMoMA art exhibit of Garry Winogrand’s photography. Lots of images caught my attention and it’s probably no surprise that one of them was of a woman in an elevator who was wearing a cute short crocheted dress.
Photographer Garry Winogrand
I didn’t know this photographer prior to going to the exhibit but when I saw the images advertising the exhibit I knew it was something that I wanted to check out. While there, I learned a little bit about him, of course. Basically, Winogrand was originally a painter who learned photography in the late 1940s and immediately switched to this medium. He got known for doing snapshots / street photography that were essentially unposed portraits.
The collection at SFMoMA (which is one of the final exhibits before the museum closes for a few years for big renovations) shows a big span of the years of his work from the late 1950s through the early 1980s. You can see the politics of the time as well as seeing lots of terrific stories behind the faces in the photos.
Something that’s really interesting about Winogrand’s work is that many, many of his photos were developed and published posthumously, lots of which are on display in this exhibit. His Getty Museum artist bio says that when he died in 1984 (of terminal cancer) he left behind more than 2500 rolls of undeveloped 35 mm film!
1975 Crochet Dress Photo
This was the photo that caught my attention because of the crochet dress that the woman is wearing in it. I tried to take a more detailed photo of the dress itself but it was too hard to get it through the glass; (you can see that I already got some reflections in this image). It definitely looks hand-crocheted, though, which you can see when you get the chance to look at the photo close-up in the museum.
One of the things that I thought was most interesting about this photography exhibit was that a lot of the photosgave a glimpse into a certain era and yet were somehow also timeless. There were several pictures of Central Park hippies in the late 1960s that really spoke to the Summer of Love style and yet could easily be black and white photos of people in Dolores Park or Golden Gate Park here today.
Of course, some of this has to do with the style of clothing and hair which has changed but also been recycled over time. This crochet dress is a great example of this. The image is from 1975 so obviously the dress was being worn by women then. However, it kind of looks similar to a recent crochet dress that was worn by Megan on the season premiere of popular show Mad Men. The show is set in the 1960’s so the dress references that era but then it’s a style that’s been replicated or references by many different modern brands in recent years, including H&M, so it’s kind of a timeless dress in that way.