I swear that is Matrix code above his head.
Photographer. Yet calling him this, or giving him this title, comes up short. Yes, he’s a photographer and one of the best, most important working today but he is SO much more. A typical conversation with Dan might cover topics like aviation, fabrication, chemical composition of household items, electricity, darkroom process, space, celebrity, technology, bee keeping and maybe you end with a full twisting dismount of WWII Medal of Honor winners. He’s not normal, but he’s reflective of what I see as the future of photography. The days of the one-trick-pony button pusher are over. You have to be WAY more interesting and way more involved in humanity to formulate a real career. And you must be adaptable.
I rarely go to lectures anymore, especially photography lectures, and I rarely go out. I’d rather stay at home, read, write, mangle the guitar, contemplate how awesome I am or just avoid a devolving general population, but when my wife said “Dan is coming to Art Center,” I said “Get in the car.” (And I knew I’d get to see the crew at Art Center who are peeps I really enjoy.) Dan also does books, as you can see by these images. Good books. His last “Road to Seeing,” is 700 pages and one of the best damn books on photography you will ever find. And it’s about WAY more than the photographer. This book haunts me. When I got this book I couldn’t open it because I knew it would crush my nuts so to speak. Have you ever had a bad oyster and then urgently needed to use the bathroom. The book kinda made me feel like that, in a good way. URGENT yet terrified by the thought of NOT doing it. Pacing around, sweat on brow, talking to myself, “Oh man, oh man, oh man, am I going to make it?” How many books do this to you?
He’s a dad, a husband, a committed friend to his friends and he’s funny, which goes SO FAR in my book. He probably has an ego but I’ve not yet encountered that force field, which I can tell you is a very rare thing when it comes to people at his level. If you get a chance to hear him speak make sure you take the time and get it done.
Legend. Can I call him that? Glad you got to get up there. I would love to hear him speak.
He’s worth seeing. Has something to say and speaks well.
Matrix code: I like it. I keep reading about Dan Winters and this book but have resisted reading it as I may be influenced unduly by it. I should probably just buy it, I know.
Eventually you will own it. Just give up and get it.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Dan present in Austin several times. The last time I saw him was at the Texas Book Festival a few years back. I was looking up the room number for his talk on my phone in front of the Texas Capitol building when I looked up and he was walking by. I did a double take and said, “Dan?” “Yes”, he said and I asked if I could follow him in since I wasn’t sure where I was going. He said he wasn’t sure either but we’d find it together. I shared an elevator ride with Dan and his wife. Lovely people. I was struck by his humbleness. He is not just an incredibly talented photographer; he’s an amazing artist and thinker. I hope our paths cross again some day.
He’s pretty normal. Well, not really, but in the normal ways that people are normal he’s normal but in his mind he’s a creative dynamo.