One hundred and fifty

Untitled

1963 by Garry Winogrand
MoMA

Winogrand is known for his documentation of American life in the 1960s, for his photography, poignant in the wit and subtlety of its observation. His first book published was The Animals (1969), which this photo inevitably was a part of. It quietly watches the interaction between humans and animals in they city; interesting, that his first complete book of photography should be so preoccupied with such a relationship, and that it emerged from urban observation. Perhaps this urbanity, the  close proximity of people fighting to survive on ‘the island’, contrasted with their determination to see the wonders of nature resulting in them being put in a cage too. Untitled highlights this physical entrapment, while also allowing the wall of glass to emerge as a barrier symbolising the enormity that is the difference between human and animal life. Power here, and control, are crystal clear, in the face of the window through which both mammals gaze. The dolphin is ghostly white as it hovers under the glittering surface, which appears too close for comfort, making patterns on the dolphin’s back like the shadows of bars. The man in comparison is almost invisible in the blackness of shadows, his face concealed, any emotion he could have absorbed into his action of cleaning the glass. Here the cleaning, the care, becomes slightly ironic: a polishing of a translucent imprisonment, a line down the middle of two worlds of white and black.

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