In the midst of social change and political turbulence around the world in the 1960s and 1970s, artists brought their cameras onto the streets, finding photography to be an immediate and accessible means of responding to their surroundings. The four artists featured here all used handheld, portable cameras to capture the everyday theater of distinct environments: Graciela Iturbide’s photographs depict the vitality of Mexico’s cities as well as the indigenous cultures of the Sonoran Desert—and the exchange between them. Daido Moriyama’s images of urban Japan feature soldiers, avant-garde performers, and anonymous passersby. Miguel Rio Branco turned his camera toward the sidewalks and subways of downtown New York, where he briefly lived before returning to Brazil. And Garry Winogrand, though often associated with his native New York, here captured the showmanship and pageantry of another unmistakably American locale, Texas. These pictures reflect the personal perspectives of their makers as well as the dynamic social shifts playing out around them. As Rio Branco later noted, “My subject was my life around me.”
Organized by Lucy Gallun, Associate Curator, with River Bullock, Beaumont & Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow, Department of Photography.