Szarkowski on Luck in Baseball and Photography

Kate Joyce's hands

Photographer Kate Joyce’s hands. Photo by Ivan Weiss.

Yesterday’s Paris Review Daily piece drew the attention of the outstanding photographer in Raleigh, David Simonton, who sent me this quote from the late John Szarkowski, the legendary longtime head of the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In a book on photographer Garry Winogrand, the Szarkowski wrote this:

Most of Winogrand’s best pictures — let us say all of his best pictures — involve luck of a different order than that kind of minimal, survivor’s luck on which any human achievement depends. It is a luck of an order that can perhaps be compared to the luck of an athlete, for whom the game is devised to make failure the rule and conspicuous success never wholly in the hands of the hero. The great Henry Aaron hit a home run 755 times in his career, but he failed to do so almost 12,000 times.

 from the essay “The Work of Garry Winogrand,” by John Szarkowski in Winogrand: Figments from the Real World, John Szarkowski, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1988). P. 28-29.

Many thanks to David, who also notes that Szarkowski’s book was published the same year Bull Durham was released.

One Comment on “Szarkowski on Luck in Baseball and Photography

  1. Pingback: Failure? On a win, a loss, a cliché | Bull City Summer

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