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Friedlander Paperback – August 31, 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter Galassi is Chief Curator in the Department of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art.

Born in 1934, Lee Friedlander is one of the world's most important living photographers. Among his previous books are the seminal "Self Portrait" and "The American Monument", and more recently, "American Musicians", "Letters from the People", "Little Screens", "The Desert Seen" and "Sticks & Stones". His work was the subject of a major 2005 retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, which travels to SFMOMA in 2008.

Peter Galassi is Chief Curator in the Department of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art.

Born in 1934, Lee Friedlander is one of the world's most important living photographers. Among his previous books are the seminal "Self Portrait" and "The American Monument", and more recently, "American Musicians", "Letters from the People", "Little Screens", "The Desert Seen" and "Sticks & Stones". His work was the subject of a major 2005 retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, which travels to SFMOMA in 2008. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: The Museum of Modern Art, New York; First Paperback Edition edition (August 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870703447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870703447
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 11.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #917,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent overview of Lee Friedlander's pioneering career. If you are only peripherally interested in Friedlander and his photography, this is the book to buy. If you are a longtime admirer of his work, this will be the book you will return to again and again.

In addition to a generous display of photographs, the introductory essay (although a bit dense at times) gives insight into Friedlander's motivations and achievements.

Friedlander seems to be a controversial subject on photography forums across the Net. It's interesting to read the opinions of other photographers on these internet forums who think his work is sloppy, unsophisticated, amateurish, etc. Once confronted with this enlightening overview of Friedlander's work, it becomes obvious that what is truly sloppy, unsophisticated and amateurish is the perspective of those espousing these opinions. What evolves is the fact that Friedlander is a treasure.
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Format: Hardcover
Without question one of America's great photographers, Lee Friedlander can also be regarded as among the world's most influential photographers. This heavy, massive coffee table-sized book is a collection of every important body of work Lee Friedlander has made since the 1950's, beginning with his early commercial photographs of jazz musicians to his classic "American Monuments" series from the 1970's, to his unique nudes taken over two decades, Sonoran cacti depicted in his classic mid 1990's landscape book "The Desert Seen", and of course his recent body of work. It is the companion volume to the current Lee Friedlander retrospective - the first in over a decade - organized and shown currently at New York City's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). It contains an excellent critical overview by the exhibition's curator, Peter Galassi, chairperson of MoMA's photography department.

Lee Friedlander first appeared as one of several influential photographers who had a "Snapshot Aesthetic" to their documentary photography (Others include the late Garry Winogrand, William Klein and Joel Meyerowitz, to name but a few.) during the 1950's and 1960's. However, Friedlander's vision has always been unique, drawing upon his love of jazz music for his often spellbinding, distinctive photographic compositions. At first glance a Lee Friedlander image may be poorly composed, but upon further inspection, you can't help but feel impressed by his odd, yet still sensible logic in composing images. If you have a chance to visit New York City before the end of August, then by all means see this exhibition, which contains more than 500 images selected and sequenced by Galassi himself; otherwise, I highly recommend acquiring this splendid book.
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Format: Paperback
This is the most comprehensive look at the work of Lee Friedlander to date, ranging from the beginnings in American jazz photography to landscapes to a large body of self-portraits. It is accompanied by an inclusive essay that surveys Friedlander's entire career, written by Peter Galassi the Chief Curator in the Department of Photography at the MoMA.

This is not the average retrospective catalog. A broad range of work is presented in 764 plates spanning five decades and arranged in groups. Some organized by theme and style while others are dedicated to specific books (Friedlander has published over 25 to date.) The photographs were not maliciously narrowed down or traditionally arranged. The artist himself had a large part in the selection and sequencing processes. The photographs are organized so that we can look back and see what the artist may or may not have intended from the beginning.

One group in particular compares new and old photographs and investigates the large change and learning experience that comes with a new camera. Friedlander started with a 35mm Leica, a street photographer's best friend, and he perfected his craft with it. Later in his career he decided to make the change to medium format and he revisited all the same problems. This section demonstrates the similarities and differences of working with different formats such as composition with a square frame, but also shows a new understanding of the medium and a range of new possibilities.

Friedlander's sense of humor is apparent in much of his work. It is not coincidence, but a decisive moment that captures these juxtapositions and visual metaphors that communicate irony and humor. The large size and scale of the book is necessary to accommodate comparisons between several similar photographs on a single page. For Lee Friedlander the quantity becomes part of the quality. His best photographs are made better by sharing the page with an image from the same series.
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Format: Hardcover
by its scope, this book, like the photographer who's work it represents, is unique. not just the amount of photos, but the richness of them, their cool intelligence. it is a major volume, by one of the most influential non-color artists of our time. many people either hate or love friedlander's work, and i love it. if you do, just looking at this book a few times will be a great joy. if you're lucky (and rich) enough to buy or own it - what a treat.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'll comment on something other reviews haven't yet mentioned: Peter Galassi's 70+ page introductory essay. He apologizes for its length, but in fact it's crucial. He refers to at least 100 of the ~800 photos in the book. Without his commentary I would have been lost. I would have missed the games that Friedlander played and dismissed many interesting shots as 'the case of the missing point.'

Yes, pictures are supposed to speak for themselves. Nonetheless, for someone new to the territory, a native guide like Galassi is extremely valuable.

Once you learn to spot Friedlander's game-du-jour, he is mind-boggling.
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