New York’s chaos leads us to look away and hide inside ourselves. It’s impossible to fully digest the complexity of a city where more than a third of the residents hail from abroad, a city where rich and poor work side by side yet know little about each other. You can spend a whole day on its streets and in the end not remember a single person of the thousands you passed. To open your eyes and face—really face—this Moloch is daunting.
New York street photographer Garry Winogrand did face the city, day after day. When he died of cancer in 1984 at the age of 56, he had photographed approximately 2 million people and exposed some 26,000 rolls of film. In his snapshots we meet white, black, and brown people; cripples and beauties; the middle, working, and upper class; couples in love and peeping toms; children, old folks, animals, cops, and soldiers. His stage was the street, the airport, the train, and anything else in motion. “A walking raw nerve,” his third wife, Eileen Adele Hale, called him.