El Morocco, New York

Artist: Garry Winogrand (American, 1928–1984)

Date: 1955

Medium: Gelatin silver print

Dimensions: 23.5 x 33.7 cm (9 1/4 x 13 1/4 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, 1992

Accession Number: 1992.5107

Rights and Reproduction: © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco


El Morocco was one of New York's hottest nightclubs in the 1950s-a perfect site for Garry Winogrand to test his talents as a street-smart photographer working for Harper's Bazaar, Collier's, Pageant, and Sports Illustrated. Like his earlier pictures of the prizefighter Floyd Patterson in the ring, this photograph of a couple dancing explodes the idea of the snapshot. Focusing on his subjects' telling responses (here the face and hands revealing a ferocious animal spirit), Winogrand introduced a new, exceedingly confrontational style of 35mm photography. Direct, invasive, yet intuitively choreographed, this approach soon placed the artist alongside Robert Frank as one of the preeminent street photographers of the day.