Dan Winters - The Grey Ghost
Published by Rocky Nook. July 2016
We are literally drowning in a swamp of forgettable images; our phones, tablets and computers feed us an unstoppable quantity of photographs - via our friends, our friends, friends and through the general mucous of social media.
And how do the images of Capa and Cartier-Bresson and other great photographers compare?
Maybe the wonderful curators at MoMA or somewhere similar, can explain what makes a great photograph great - for the rest of us, it’s a question of visual memory;
Photographs from the Normandy Beach Landing are engraved deeply - remembered over time…in contrast, your friend’s Instagram from a few minutes ago, is already forgotten.
(incidentally, Winters has an Instagram account…but that’s a wee bit different, you know what i mean)
And so it is with Dan Winters;
This is his fifth book - the first three books were basically albums of his work - however, his previous book
“Road to Seeing” New Riders, 2014. ISBN 0321886399 - was a massive autobiographical reflection on his life and his work - text interspersed with photographs.
In contrast, his latest book “The Grey Ghost” - is all photographs (the photos don’t even include title, location or anything).
For full disclosure, I received a complementary copy of this book for review - but, having bought two copies of his previous book - one as the Hardback version (for the photos) and also the eBook (for the text) - I would have certainly ordered this latest book.
So what are we to make of this book?
Since there is not much text to read, all we can do is look at the photographs - and that's maybe how it should be.
At the end of the book, there is a listing of photo-titles and dates plus a short article by Winters.
We have 97 full-page black and white images of New York photographed from 1987 until today.
The book is superbly produced - elegant design and thick glossy pages (I’d be reluctant to put this book on my coffee table - scared that someone might actually spill coffee…)
The images are memorable and timeless.
my book actually arrived on 9/11; now I’ve only been to New York once , but I never saw the World Trade Center - the first photograph that I looked at it the book (actually on page 4) is from the Empire State Building with the Twin Towers in the background - the sheer enormity of the towers dwarfs lower Manhattan. A truly remarkable photograph.
Similarly with the Statue of Liberty - a monument photographed from every possible angle and viewpoint - but it’s up to Dan Winters to find the one position that creates such a wonderful image.
People and Monuments, street photography and landscapes - a fitting tribute to New York and to Dan Winters - all become engraved within our visual memory.