“I have been photographing the United States trying by investigating photographically to learn who we are and how we feel, but seeing what we look like as history has been and is happening to us in this world. Since World War II we have seen the spread of affluence, the move to the suburbs and the spreading of them, the massive shopping centers to serve them, cars for to and from. New schools, churches and banks. And the growing need of tranquillizer peace, missile races, H bombs for overkills, war and peace tensions, and bomb shelter security. Economic automation problems, and since the Supreme Court decision to desegregate schools we have the acceleration of the civil liberties battle by Negroes.
I look at the pictures I have done up to now, and they make me feel that who we are and how we feel and what is to become of us just doesn’t matter. Our aspirations and successes have been cheap and petty. I read the newspapers, the columnists, some books, I look at some magazines (our press). They all deal in illusions and fantasies. I can only conclude that we have lost ourselves, and that the bomb may finish the job permanently, and it just doesn’t matter, we have not loved life.
I cannot accept my conclusions, and so I must continue this photographic investigation further and deeper. This is my project.”
– Garry Winogrand, from his second Guggenheim Fellowship application, 1964