Michael Wolf, Real Fake Art 25, from the series Real Fake Art. (The painting is a copy of Lee Friedlander's Memphis 2003.)
At sixty-five I retired from everything except work.
Lee Friedlander (b. 1934) is one of the few artists in any medium to sustain a consistent body of influential work over five decades. The result of singular talent coupled with dogged, indefatigable effort, Friedlander has photographed almost every day since the late 1950s. More than a few of his friends have observed that for Lee Friedlander, working is the equivalent of breathing. In the pre-dawn hours he can be found in his darkroom, developing negatives, studying contact sheets, and printing. He has never had an assistant. Every Friedlander photograph in existence was printed by the artist himself, a claim that can be made for very few photographers.
(From the writeup of a Friedlander show at the Fraenkel Gallery in late 2010.)
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Featured Comments from:
Fred M: "How do I convey the deep respect I have for the work of Lee Friedlander? I have numerous Friedlander books, the count of which outnumbers, by far, the collected works of any other single photographer in my book collection. Musicians, street photographs, desert plants, monuments, nudes, self portraits, landscape...and the list goes on. A photographer supremely confident in his voice and vision. And what a vision at that!"
Michael M: "Sadly I don't have any Friedlander books. What books would you recommend as a starting point?"
Mike replies: This can be difficult because many of his books are so different in subject matter. There are at least two retrospectives I know of. On is the big Museum of Modern Art compendium by Peter Galassi—I didn't care for that and actually didn't keep it, although some people like it. For me, it's too jam-packed with too many pictures and the repro quality doesn't quite meet my minimum standards. The book I still like best is getting long in the tooth as a retrospective—Like a One-Eyed Cat from 1987. Of the two, a more enjoyable book and much more integrated and cohesive as a photobook. And, unlike many older photobooks, used copies are still affordable.
You might have to take this with a grain of salt because Like a One-Eyed Cat is one of my favorite photobooks, so I might not be very objective.