The American post-war visual culture developed under the strong impact of the three major figures in photography and this impact lasts until now. Capturing their country's social scene, each of them separately brought innovating attitude supported by New York City opportunities.
Diane Arbus was the one whose camera captured and thus empowered the marginalized humans like eccentrics, circus performers, impersonators, transvestites, yet also children, couples, and passerbys. Her camera could have been compared to a weapon. At first considered provocative and on the edge of decency, her documenting of the post-war New York City set new standards of connection between the photographer and his models.
Richard Avedon made himself a name mostly by shooting celebrities. Throughout his career in photography which lasted for about six decades, he caught on film Buster Keaton, Katherine Hepburn, Humphrey Boggart, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Dwight Eisenhower, Kate Moss, to name a few, in the minimalistic psychologic manner. He also did not shy away from the sharp social issues of the 60s like the Civil Rights Movement or Vietnam War.
Garry Winogrand had been tirelessly scouting the blocks around Fifth Avenue for the scenes from routine "theater" played by regular people like tourists, cops, office workers, shoppers, for the movement and gesture patterns. His body of works leaves an impression of a grotesque zoo, a country bursting with opportunities on the edge of losing control.