Anne Darling Photography

Lee Friedlander
Photographer, Born 1934, American

During his career Lee Friedlander has photographed documentary, landscape, portrait, nude, and self-portrait genres. He is self-effacing, this man whom many consider a genius, downplaying the importance of his photographs in the context of art history. Friedlander wears the guise of a pedestrian shutterbug taking black-and-white snapshots for the family scrapbook.

Born in Washington State in 1934, Lee Friedlander still wanders with his camera through the streets, wild landscapes, and haunts of friends and family to make his pictures. He has remained married to the same woman since 1958 - Maria Friedlander - who notes that her husband's camera addiction goes back to his teenage years. Together they have two children and are now grandparents.

If we take Lee Friedlander and his wife at their words, there is little mystery about the man; yet mystery underpins his photographs of excess and clutter. Lee Friedlander photos, sometimes seeming to speak a social message, are very much part of a post-modern aesthetic.

He breaks with the tradition of the dramatic Moderns who fed his imagination and eagerness during his formative years, working without collaboration. Photographs of his family and relatives reside in the public sphere.

Friedlander claims that there is nothing fancy about what he does, no special effects or distortions for the most part. He allows his photographs to speak of his world view, a world that is chock-full of interest, where order exists within chaos; and he documents this in series of magical moments. He worked as a freelance photojournalist before retiring to take more pictures.

Lee Friedlander is an unstoppable, important force among the contemporary art world.

Sometimes we are initially fooled by the apparent simplicity of his images, but on closer inspection we find the clichés of contemporary culture belie a world more complex than seen at first glance. His themes are just as broad: random moments in time; people who appear more real through his lens than in reality; modern workers jammed up hellishly against the foreground of the picture with their machines; and thickly-layered landscapes.

The genius of Lee Friedlander reveals the unreality of appearances, in photographs that are as vibrant and alive as the day they were made.

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