Lee Friedlander

American Photographer | Born: 1934

Lee Friedlander (born July 14, 1934) is an American photographer and artist. In the 1960s and 70s, working primarily with 35mm cameras and black and white film, Friedlander evolved an influential and often imitated visual language of urban "social landscape," with many of his photographs including fragments of store-front reflections, structures framed by fences, posters and street-signs. Friedlander studied photography at the Art Center College of Design located in Pasadena, California. In 1956, he moved to New York City where he photographed jazz musicians for record covers. His early work was influenced by Eugène Atget, Robert Frank, and Walker Evans.

In 1960, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded Friedlander a grant to focus on his art and made subsequent grants in 1962 and 1977. Some of his most famous photographs appeared in the September 1985 Playboy, black and white nude photographs of Madonna from the late 1970s. A student at the time, she was paid only $25 for her 1979 set. In 2009, one of the images fetched $37,500 at a Christie's Art House auction. Working primarily with Leica 35mm cameras and black and white film, Friedlander's style focused on the "social landscape". His photographs used detached images of urban life, store-front reflections, structures framed by fences, and posters and signs all combining to capture the look of modern life. In 1963, the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House mounted Friedlander's first solo exhibition. Friedlander was then a key figure in curator John Szarkowski's 1967 "New Documents" exhibition, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City along with Garry Winogrand and Diane Arbus.

In 1973, his work was honored in Rencontres d'Arles festival (France) with the screening "Soirée américaine : Judy Dater, Jack Welpott, Jerry Uelsmann, Lee Friedlander" présentée par Jean-Claude Lemagny. In 1990, the MacArthur Foundation awarded Friedlander a MacArthur Fellowship. Friedlander now works primarily with medium format cameras (e.g. Hasselblad Superwide). Whilst suffering from arthritis and housebound, he focused on photographing his surroundings. His book, Stems, reflects his life during the time of his knee replacement surgery. He has said that his "limbs" reminded him of plant stems. These images display textures which were not a feature of his earlier work. In this sense, the images are similar to those of Josef Sudek who also photographed the confines of his home and studio. He was awarded The Royal Photographic Society's Special 150th Anniversary Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography in 2003.

In 2005, the Museum of Modern Art presented a major retrospective of Friedlander's career, including nearly 400 photographs from the 1950s to the present. In the same year he received a Hasselblad International Award. The retrospective exhibition was presented again in 2008 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Concurrent to this retrospective, a more contemporary body of his work, America By Car, was displayed at the Fraenkel Gallery, also in San Francisco. "America By Car" was on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City in late 2010. He is the father of cellist Erik Friedlander, and Anna Friedlander.

Source: Wikipedia

Friedlander The Nudes: A Second Look
Author: Lee Friedlander
Publisher: D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.
Year: 2013 - Pages: 168
Lee Friedlander's exploration of one of photography's most enduring genres began almost by chance, in the late 1970s, when a teacher colleague at Rice University in Houston lined up a regular schedule of nude models for his students. Almost immediately, Friedlander found that he preferred to photograph the models at their homes, and ingeniously deployed household objects such as bedside lamps, potted plants and sofa fabrics to play off against the angular poses of the models and the emphatic framing of the overall composition. Friedlander's nudes show every blemish, every contour that makes each body unique, while his flash often serves to counter this realism with a softening effect that often recedes the body's shadow right up to its outline. With the publication of Friedlander's nude portraits of Madonna (prints of which fetch huge sums), the series became among the photographer's best known work, and eventually saw publication in 1991, from Jonathan Cape. Lee Friedlander: The Nudes significantly expands on the Cape edition (itself long out of print), with a total of 84 nudes, plus a new layout and design by Katy Homans and new separations by Thomas Palmer. As such, it offers the most lavish presentation of this key series in Friedlander's massive oeuvre.
 
Friedlander: America by Car
Author: Lee Friedlander, D.A.P./Fraenkel
Publisher: D.A.P./Fraenkel
Year: 2010 - Pages: 200
Enduring icons of American culture, the car and the highway remain vital as auguries of adventure and discovery, and a means by which to take in the country's vast scale. Lee Friedlander is the first photographer to make the car an actual "form" for making photographs. Driving across most of the country's 50 states in an ordinary rental car, Friedlander applied the brilliantly simple conceit of deploying the sideview mirror, rearview mirror, the windshield and the side windows as a picture frame within which to record the country's eccentricities and obsessions at the turn of the century. This method allows for fascinating effects in foreshortening, and wonderfully telling juxtapositions in which steering wheels, dashboards and leatherette bump up against roadside bars, motels, churches, monuments, suspension bridges, landscapes and often Friedlander's own image, via sideview mirror shots. Presented in the square crop format that has dominated his look in recent series, and taken over the past decade, the nearly 200 images in America by Car are easily among Friedlander's finest, full of virtuoso touch and clarity, while also revisiting themes from older bodies of work (Friedlander occasionally used aspects of automotive architecture in photographs from the late 1960s and early 1970s). Never has America been photographed so penetratingly and ingeniously as in Friedlander's latest body of work.
 
Friedlander
Author: Peter Galassi, Richard Benson, Lee Friedlander
Publisher: The Museum of Modern Art
Year: 2009 - Pages: 480
Writing about The Museum of Modern Art, New York's monumental and critically acclaimed 2005 Lee Friedlander retrospective, Richard Lacayo of Time magazine said: "If a sophisticated notion of what a picture can look like, the continuous construction of new avenues of feeling, and sheer, sustained inventiveness are the measures we go by, then Friedlander is one of the most important American artists of any kind since World War II Friedlander loves the muchness of the world. He loves the haphazard multitude of things that can pop up in every picture--street signs, sunbeams, bits of roofline, a jagged shadow--all colliding and contradicting one another. In his breezy but very acute introduction to the show's catalogue, Peter Galassi, MoMA's Chief Curator of Photography, gets it just right when he says some of Friedlander's pictures give you the impression that 'the physical world had been broken into fragments and reconstituted under pressure at three times its original density.'"
 
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