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Friedlander

Friedlander

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Image by Thomas Hawk I spent a good chunk of yesterday afternoon up at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art checking out the latest show up there by photographer Lee Friedlander. Lee Friedlander is one of the most prolific modern photographers and has been shooting for the past 50 years. Along the way he has amassed an impressive body of work. Much of Friedlander's work is focused on collections. Collections of self portraits. Collections of letters and numbers. Collections of nudes. Collections of people working. Collections of nature and landscapes. Collections of statues and monuments. He also has a series of specific projects. A collection of images from a fashion shoot. A collection of imagery from an Italian cemetery. Random sort of projects for a random sort of man. Much of Friedlander's work is commentary on the modern American landscape with his most significant work being a sort of documentary of America's social landscape. This work is full of odd street photography, mundane American architecture, and the like. Many of Friedlander's scenes are messy and noisy and full of clutter. That telephone pole or fence in the way of an impressive building or architecture shot is not bypassed. Instead the carelessness of the anti-aesthetic is documented in his work. The gnarled fence and what it stands for becomes as important as the subject that Friedlander is shooting behind the fence. His car interior as much a part of his photograph as the Las Vegas street scene outside his car. Friedlander is after the clutter, chaos and ugliness of life in many ways more than the beauty. When Friedlander was housebound suffering with arthritis he photographed a series of flowers. But not the kind of flowers you might expect. Friedlander focused not on the beautiful petals, but instead on the tough stems. A series of photographs of nothing but stems. The beauty largely stripped from nature and replaced by a sort of toughness that is every bit as much a part of nature as it's more beautiful cousin. As one of the world's most famous photographers it is interesting to look at Friedlander's work when juxtapositioned against the work by many of the other Masters of Photography. While Friedlander started out doing stunningly beautiful portraits of jazz and other musicians early in his career, he quickly changed direction. Rather than continue down the path of the cult of celebrity like his friend Richard Avedon or famous photographer Annie Leibovitz, most of Friedlander's later portraits are portraits of anonymous everyday people. They are the people that mostly make up the American social landscape. Everyday people working. The back of a woman walking down the street. The fat hand with a ring on it around a lady at the race track. And in this sense he does a much better job capturing what it means to be an American than many of his peers. Even Friedlander's own self portraits are not the glamour shots. They are shots of him with his eyes half closed. Haphazard compositions showing the odd side to the odd man who takes the odd pictures. If you saw any single image of Friedlander's without knowing that it was his there is a good chance that you'd dismiss his work. You'd look at a photo of a house and a yard and say, well, ok, a photo of a house and yard. Not a particularly great photo but a photo. On the other hand when you look at Friedlander's work as a whole, as the massive collection that it is, and if you examine the threads and paths that he moves down, you get a better sense of what the man and his photography are about. This is why Friedlander's work is best viewed large. Best viewed large as in context with his entire body of work, and in this sense the current show at the SF Moma very much succeeds. The SF Moma also has a number of Friedlander's currently in print books on display as part of the show. The one that I liked best as a retrospective of his work was Friedlander, The Museum of Modern Art -- well worth checking out to get a better sense of Lee Friedlander and his photography. More on Friedlander from NY Magazine.

Image from page 248 of "The new book of the dog : a comprehensive natural history of British dogs and their foreign relatives, with chapters on law, breeding, kennel management, and veterinary treatment" (1911) celebrity numbers
Image by Internet Archive Book Images Identifier: newbookofdogcomp01leig Title: The new book of the dog : a comprehensive natural history of British dogs and their foreign relatives, with chapters on law, breeding, kennel management, and veterinary treatment Year: 1911 (1910s) Authors: Leighton, Robert, 1859-1934 Subjects: Dogs Publisher: London New York : Cassell Contributing Library: Webster Family Library of Veterinary Medicine Digitizing Sponsor: Tufts University View Book Page: Book Viewer About This Book: Catalog Entry View All Images: All Images From Book Click here to view book online to see this illustration in context in a browseable online version of this book. Text Appearing Before Image: marks, and heinherited the blood of nearly all the houndsmentioned above. He had plenty of Furrierin him; his dam Destitute was by SirRichard Suttons Dryden son of LordHenry Bentincks Contest, and his grand-dams sire was by the Drake Duster. Hewas therefore a combination of the greatones, and no hound ever put more characterinto his progeny. He was a good honesthound, a rare finder, and would run withhis hackles up right to the front and drivehard to the death. Then he was a demon,would fight another hound in his terriblepassion for blood, and no run could tirehim. Huntsmen will say that the Senatorswere all like this. There was Lord Polti-mores Woldsman of that strain, and hisson the Bicester Whipster, after him â€"devils incarnate as they were called, andat a kill the whips, if they could get atthem, would always couple them up toavoid mischief. But Senator left his markat Belvoir and elsewhere in regard to acommanding carriage and colour. Theexquisite Belvoir tan, and just half the Text Appearing After Image: THE FOXHOUND. stern white as a wonderful setting off,came down from Senator. His head wasset up, and now adorns a wall in BelvoirCastle, and, by-the-bye, the head of Cromwelloccupies a similar panel at Berkeley Castle.The celebrity, famous in every quarterwhere hounds are talked about, was theBelvoir Weathergage, entered in 1876. Hestrained from Senator on his dams side as ments, and mated him with Susan byStormer, a grandson of the Drake Duster.The produce, numbering two and ahalf couples, included two very hand-some dog-hounds Warrior and Woodman,and the former in due course was thesire of Weathergage, always regarded byGillard as the best hound ever known. Hewould find nine foxes out of ten, was never Note About Images Please note that these images are extracted from scanned page images that may have been digitally enhanced for readability - coloration and appearance of these illustrations may not perfectly resemble the original work.

 
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