This Friday, “Garry Winogrand” — the first retrospective of the legendary street photographer in 25 years — opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Born in the Bronx in 1928, Winogrand served as a weather forecaster in the military before returning to New York to study painting at Columbia — where he also began photographing commercially for publications like Life, Sports Illustrated, and Collier’s. Best known for his street photography in Manhattan in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Winogrand considered himself a “student of America,” focusing his lens on middle-class life in the postwar decades.
The new exhibition, guest-curated by Leo Rubinfien, is the first to delve deeply into Winogrand’s unfinished work; when the photographer died of gall bladder cancer in 1984 (he was 56), he left behind nearly 6,500 rolls of undeveloped film. “There exists in photography no other body of work of comparable size or quality that is so editorially unresolved,” notes Rubinfien. The resulting show features over 175 of Winogrand’s most iconic prints, as well as many previously unseen images, shot in New York, Texas, Southern California, Chicago, Washington, and Miami. Click through the slideshow for a first look, including some of Winogrand’s famed images from the Met Museum Centennial in 1969.