Lee Friedlander: "I only wanted Uncle Vern standing by his new car"
June 14, 2005 11:41 AM   Subscribe

Little visual miracles. For more than forty years that most American of photographers, Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters Lee Friedlander, has recorded modern American urban life -- with its jumble of people, signs, buildings, and cars, and television sets. He likes to turn a common blunder of amateurs -- photographing something nearby with one's back to the sun -- into a leitmotif. His shadow plays the role of alter ego, sticking to the back of a woman's fur collar, clinging to a lamppost as a parade of drum majorettes passes by, reclining like a stuffed doll on a chair. Clever jigsaw puzzles, his pictures frequently reveal themselves to be laconic, austere poems to what Friedlander has termed "the American social landscape',' meaning mostly ordinary places and affairs. "Friedlander," an exhibition of more than 480 photographs and 25 books covering decades of work, runs at MoMA through Aug. 29, before traveling to Europe until 2007. More inside.
posted by matteo (8 comments total)
As Friedlander once put it: "I only wanted Uncle Vern standing by his new car (a Hudson) on a clear day. I got him and the car. I also got a bit of Aunt Mary's laundry, and Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on a fence, and a row of potted tuberous begonias on the porch and 78 trees and a million pebbles in the driveway and more. It's a generous medium, photography.'
posted by matteo at 11:43 AM on June 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

Fine post matteo... thanks!
posted by Witty at 12:18 PM on June 14, 2005

Excellent post, matteo. The more recent photos have an incredible dislocated perspective. And a terrifying self portrait from a man who knows exactly what he's doing.
posted by Huw at 12:22 PM on June 14, 2005

Thanks, I'll be reading all day..

I appreciate that he prints his own photos, and doesn't limit them to editions (to my knowledge). For a photographer of his stature, original prints done in his darkroom are quite available.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 12:31 PM on June 14, 2005

bookmarked...for future perusal of your cogent post. I hope to make it to MOMA in the next few weeks to dwell on his work. The quote you excerpted is superb.
posted by naxosaxur at 1:02 PM on June 14, 2005

matteo-This is an excellent post and set of links. Thanks for putting it all together.
posted by OmieWise at 1:05 PM on June 14, 2005

best post ever!
posted by vronsky at 1:23 PM on June 14, 2005

Genius again, my tall dark friend.
posted by dejah420 at 1:56 PM on June 14, 2005

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