Not on view
Gelatin silver print
Sheet: 11 × 13 15/16in. (27.9 × 35.4 cm) Image: 8 7/8 × 13 5/16in. (22.5 × 33.8 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond W. Merritt
Rights and reproductions
© artist or artist’s estate
If Garry Winogrand’s focus on vernacular American subject matter was deeply influenced by the documentary photographs of Walker Evans and Robert Frank, his unorthodox approach to pictorial composition was novel. Winogrand often used his 35mm lens to capture tilted horizons, adding energy and a sense of spontaneity to the fugitive narratives he recorded. In Houston, Texas, he established a vertical axis in the invisible line that descends from the principal cheerleader’s face to her bent knee, forcing the horizon to incline dizzyingly. The figure's extended legs parallel the angle of the tilt, as if frenzied acrobatics rather than artistic will had guided the dynamics of the composition. Although Houston, Texas was produced late in Winogrand’s career—it was made during a five-year stint teaching at the University of Texas, Austin—the image continues his voracious visual transcription of the off-kilter, energetic pace of daily American life in the 1960s and 1970s. As the image suggests, Winogrand was fascinated less by social or historical facts than by the fugitive formal relationships that could be glimpsed in casual public encounters.
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