The Winogrand Museum
Garry Winogrand, a photographer who spent the last ten years of his life photographing Los Angeles in the 1980’s, left behind 75,000 undeveloped, unseen, negatives from his street photography when he died. He had no working filing system and chose to develop film at least one year after shooting. This project proposes a public photography museum to Garry Winogrand, sited in the Arts District of Los Angeles. These 75,000 unseen negatives shall be stored, developed and exhibited here. The general context of the project is primarily that of the optics integral to architectural workflow, and of Winogrand himself, a legitimate segment of the LA cultrual context.
The proposal investigates how photographic/ optical analysis can lead to a relevant exhibition space(s). This includes the study of his 28mm lens, his (average) 5 degree wonky horizon lines, stark contrast lighting, extreme highlights, 800 ISO noise, ‘in your face’ shooting style, centrifugal formal composition, etc. My projects have codes at the start of their names; I’ve been compiling an Optical Catalogue (OC) containing dozens of entries pertaining to spatio-optic phenomena. These are phenomena such as highlight lingering in the eye, entry no.45 in the catalogue, which heavily informed OC45_Winogrand. They’re central design components that aim to augment more conventional architectural briefs. The idea was formed under the premise that architectural design methods are predominantly optical but are rarely contextualised that way.
The proposal incorporates the idea of loss. I purposefully never made this as a physical model, it existed digitally in render space but was digitally made as though it were a 1:50 physical model, and the renders acted as these unmade model photographs. ‘Model shot’ perspectives became primary, and orthographics secondary and reactive to these unmade model shots. It was pertinent to the method that the orthographics were pared back, and simply supportive of the photographs (not driving the photographs).
The site is in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles on a corner by a garage. 50 square metres. Recent gentrification has seen the neighbourhood fill with breweries, galleries and arts programs. SCI-Arc is within a five-minute walk. The weather is pleasant at 19 degrees centigrade average over the year with little annual fluctuation in climate.
The program is subdivided into lower level darkrooms, cold storage and exhibition spaces on upper levels. The public circulate down from the top. A lower level projector shines these developed negatives up through the whole building, through the circulation, projecting onto layers of screens. Developing and projecting 20 of these photographs per day would require 10 years of exhibition to reach completion. Winogrand only shot in LA for 10 years, and so this lifetime of the proposal’s darkroom is fitting. After this time, the darkroom will become part of the museum exhibit.
Brief image: composite of existing Winogrand photographs:
1:50 model photograph
These model photographs are renders, and it’s important for them to stay this way. The realistic state of the proposal should always be suspended. The photographs are lost in a non-existent state and therefore the tectonics should do the same at all stages in the design process. This breeds a way of making and designing that is more precisely suited to the sensitive conditions of the brief. Further gallery space photos, between states:
Above: Projection space of negatives (from the lower ground levels up through the building core). Developing and projecting 20 photographs per day would suggest 10 years to develop all the 70,000 photographs. After these 10 years, the projections repeat and the darkroom, cold storage and scanning spaces become part of the public exhibition as their private use is diminished.
Plan and Section (1:100 on A3+)
1:1 detail emerging from its 1:50 state.
Project exhibited in the UG8 Summer Show at the Bartlett, 2018.