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Monday, 08 May 2023


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Thank you, Mike, for your kind words and for the recognition. There was a time when I did not understand why any straight-shooting photographer would want to shoot a pinhole image. But then I tried it out of curiosity, and it has become another lens in my image toolbox. I hope your readers who miss shooting film give it a try. It is the simplest form of photography, and how light behaves inside the box can surprise you.

I have the big Friedlander book by MOMA as well as a couple others, and he always struck me as a photographer desperately in search of an editor. According to my MOMA book, there are 860 reproductions in it, and I think 200 would have made a better book. Even 100. When you look at collections of Ansel Adams photos, you realize that he made maybe a dozen great photos in his life, and many, many very good ones. I think that's somewhat true of Friedlander as well...a small number of great photos, quite a few very good photos, and a very large number of "eh" photos. (He was much more interested in brush than perhaps he should have been. ) Just because a guy's a genius doesn't mean that all his photos are acts of genius.

Speaking of thinking one can do any kind of photography because they know their way around a camera … I’m a half-ways decent landscape photographer and we recently decided to sell a rental townhouse—for sale by owner.

I figured I could easily take some pretty good photos of the property since I have a good 16-35mm lens. It’s taken four days of frustrating post-processing to straighten out all the converging lines that should be parallel. Then find that when these corrections are made, it skews the size of objects within the photo to the point that things look ridiculous. So, a balance has to be struck and it is extremely time consuming.

Then there are the bright windows. This required a shot underexposed and blending the two together. The photos turned out great, but what a headache!

I have new found respect for real estate photographers and am humbled into realizing I need to stick to landscapes. It might be a fun exercise for folks who’ve never done this type of photography to give it a crack. It’s easy to take a photo IN a room, not so easy to take one OF a whole room.

Catching-up late. I have that same MoMA (Peter Galassi) catalog of Lee Friedlander's show. I admit to not sharing the high enthusiasm for Friedlander's work with so many of my contemporaries. But I admire his reflexes and longevity. Still, yeah John, that book (and show) could easily have made a greater impact with <=150 images. But Galassi just couldn't say no. Consequently it became a gray blur in my memory.

I saw the NYT article and was "how did i miss this guy???" anyway: any thoughts on the top 2 or 3 books with price something of a consideration.

Also ok, who's the other greatest photographer of the second half of the 20th century.

Bought the book! Unfortunately some pages are damaged, so I will have to exchange. I’m not a big Friedlander fan, I consider the book more of a learning experience. I find “I’m Looking Through You” by Tim Davis (heard about it on Sasha Wolf’s Photo Work podcast) more to my liking.


You should read my blog. :). Just a few posts back I reviews “First Fifty” and there you would have read if the origins of that book and how it was put together with Giancarlo Roma.



I also quickly sent off for the Friedlander, Fraenkel, Coen book and am delighted with it. To answer John Camp's complaint, I think in Joel Coen, Mr. Lee may have found an editor. The pictures are tied more tightly together in a visually meaningful series, than in any of his Sonoran desert or Olmsted park or cherry blossom books. The hand of man, and sometimes the shadow of the photographer are a theme in all of the pictures. Frances McDormand's end notes underscore the connection between the two contributors.

Incidentally, in the 50 Books catalog with commentary, it appears that Friedlander's grandson, Giancarlo Roma, did the bulk of the work. His wife, Maria is quoted frequently as well.

As hinted by others, it is not Erik Friedlander, but Giancarlo Roma (son of Anna Friedlander, also quoted in First Fifty) who is selling the books from Lee Friedlander's stock. Besides the complete collection, one can also purchase each of the individual signed titles at: http://www.haywirepress.com

The following link would have been more fitting in response to the Lee Friendlander Framed by Joel Coen post, but since the comments are closed there, I'll mention here that I attended the opening reception and wrote about it at: https://www.terragalleria.com/blog/looking-for-the-friedlander-signature/

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