Geoff Winningham’s career as a still photographer, filmmaker, and journalist has had many facets. He received his bachelor’s degree in English from Rice University in 1965, then studied photography at the Institute of Design in Chicago with Aaron Siskind, Arthur Siegel, and Harry Callahan. After receiving his Master’s degree there, he returned to Houston to pursue a career in creative photography, teaching, and professional photojournalism.
He joined the faculty of the Department of Art and Art History at Rice University in 1969, and over the next decade three books of his photographs were published in all, beginning with Friday Night in the Coliseum (1971), Going Texan (1972), and concluding with Rites of Fall (1978), his now classic study of Texas high school football. The first ten years of Winningham’s photography and filmmaking all dealt with subjects either unique to or characteristic of Texas: rodeos, livestock shows, professional wrestling, and high school football games were among the subjects he approached.