Menu

VCU professor’s Garry Winogrand documentary to premiere at SXSW

 A laughing woman with ice cream, taken by Garry Winogrand in 1968 in New York. <br>Photograph by...
A laughing woman with ice cream, taken by Garry Winogrand in 1968 in New York.
Photograph by Garry Winogrand, Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona

A Virginia Commonwealth University professor’s feature documentary on iconoclastic photographer Garry Winogrand will premiere at the SXSW Film Festival, March 9-18.

Produced and directed by Sasha Waters Freyer, chair of the VCU School of the Arts Department of Photography and Film, “Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable” is the first documentary film on the life and work of the acclaimed photographer. An epic storyteller in pictures of America across three turbulent decades, Winogrand’s artistry encompassed the heartbreak, violence, hope and turmoil of postwar America, from the frenzy of its urban core to the alienation of its emergent suburbs.

Sasha Waters Freyer.
<br> Photo by Steven Cassanova
Sasha Waters Freyer.
Photo by Steven Cassanova

Dying suddenly three decades ago at age 56, Winogrand left more than 300,000 images unseen. Until now.

“To have this film selected for one of 10 highly competitive slots in the documentary competition at SXSW is a huge honor, made all the more special by the connection between Winogrand and Austin, Texas, home of SXSW,” Waters Freyer said.“Winogrand crisscrossed the country many times taking photographs across the United States, but it was to Austin that he moved for a teaching job at the University of Texas in 1973. The city was his home base until 1978, and even all these years later he is remembered as a larger-than-life teacher and presence around the city.”

Photography today, more than any other medium, shapes how we think about our world, Waters Freyer said. “All Things are Photographable” highlights images of a bygone era — from the New York of “Mad Men” and the early years of the women’s movement to the birth of American suburbs and the glamour and alienation of Hollywood — to discover what Winogrand's pictures say about America in the 20th century, and to reveal how they might help us navigate the flood of images in the 21st, she said.

“His contributions to our understanding of photography as a discipline that spans fine art and documentary are substantial,” Waters Freyer said. “His use of the wide-angle lens, his tireless hunt for new subjects and new approaches to form, his willingness to experiment and to embrace failure have long sparked my imagination and admiration. Celebrated in his own lifetime, Winogrand was largely pushed aside in the history of the medium after his death in 1984. Nevertheless, we all owe a debt to his ‘snapshot aesthetic.’ Once derided by the critics, it is now the universal language of contemporary image making.” 

Endorsed by his estate, “Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable” is the first cinematic survey of his legacy. The film tells the story of an artist whose rise and fall was — like America’s in the late decades of the 20th century — larger than life, full of contradictions and totally unresolved.   

For more information on the film, visit https://www.pieshake.com/winogrand.

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 217 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Thirty-eight of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, MCV Physicians and Virginia Premier Health Plan. For more, please visit www.vcu.edu and vcuhealth.org.