“Women Are Beautiful”

The Gary Winogrand show, Women Are Beautiful, opened at the California Museum of Photography yesterday, August 10, 2013. The 85 print selection of photographs of women in public was originally titled Observations of a Male Chauvinist Pig.  Winogrand made the photographs between 1964 and 1973. I was 13 years old at the beginning of the project and 22 at the end, so the photographs have a comfortable resonance for me.

I paid the three dollar entrance fee and walked up the spiral staircase to the third floor where the show was on display. It was some time after 3:00 pm. Earlier in the day I had debated about when to go. It would be the first day of the show and a Saturday to boot, so the gallery would be crowded, I reasoned. It might be better to put off my visit until a work day. But as the afternoon rolled on toward darkness, I couldn’t wait three more days to see the show.

I was followed up the staircase by three giggling girls who made a very quick pass around the display area. They were the only other people at the show while I took my time looking at the photographs and taking a number of quick shots of the prints with my DSLR.

The original selection for this post numbered over twenty, so I cut them down to seven single prints and the wall arrangement that is the first part of the display that one sees after ascending the staircase. I don’t want this to serve as a substitute for attending the show, or detract from the impact of the photographs as seen in person.

For a number of reasons, this show needs to be viewed in person. For one thing, my snapshots do not do the photographs justice, since each was made quickly in gallery lighting which is easier for the human eye to adjust for than a camera. If a good number of people show up to view Winogrand’s photographs during the show’s run (August 10 – October 26), it will only encourage the California Museum of Photography to continue to show interesting photographic work. The work is really best seen by walking up to the physical prints, rather than a photograph of a print of a photograph.

The California Museum of Photography is located at 3824 Main Street, Riverside, California. (951) 827-4787. Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12:00 Noon – 5:00 PM.