LOS ANGELES, 2007. Actress Helen Mirren, for the New York Times Magazine. (Photo: Dan Winters)

Dan Winters

“You never really arrive. You are always working towards something but you never stop.”


I’d never been to New York. My uncle lived in Manhattan, so prior to driving upstate I stayed at his place for a couple of days. I had the workshop dates mixed up and I arrived at the farm a day early. There was a huge workforce of people trying to get the farm ready. The barn was rough, replete with dirt floors and a hay loft. The power had not yet been turned on. They had run underground power lines up to the barn from the road, leaving a four or five-hundred foot open trench that needed to be back filled. There was a bulldozer that was similar to the one we had on our farm when I was growing up. I pulled up and asked the first person I saw if there was anything that I could do to help. He jokingly asked if I knew how to drive a bulldozer. I answered in the affirmitive so he asked me to backfill the trench. I spent most of the day carefully backfilling the trench. I compacted it and did a nice final grade. At some point I saw Eddie standing in the distance watching me. When I finished he came up to me and invited me to come and hang out in the house each night. The real party was at the house, which was strictly off limits to students. It was where the stories were swapped and the whiskey flowed. To be a fly on the wall each night was an experience I’ll never forget.


Dan Winters is an independent photographer. For more than 30 years he has covered a broad range of subject matter and is widely recognized for his unusual celebrity portraiture, his scientific photography, photo illustrations, drawings and journalism stories for dozens of publications, including Esquire, the New Yorker and National Geographic. His commercial clients include Nike, Interscope Records and DreamWorks. Winters has won over one hundred national and international awards from American Photography, Communication Arts, The Society of Publication Designers, PDN, The Art Directors Club of New York, Life Magazine and World Press Photo. In 2003, Winters was honored by Kodak as a photo “Icon” in their biographical “Legends” series. Winters has had multiple solo gallery exhibitions. His work is in the permanent collections at the National Portrait Gallery and the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, among others. His most recent book, released in August 2016, “The Grey Ghost,” is a selection from 30 years of his New York street photography.