Lee Friedlander - Genius or Talentless

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by sam_chua, Mar 5, 2005.

  1. My teacher, to my great horror, is a huge fan of Friedlander. Now I don't understand Friedlander at ALL! Is he a great photography genius of a level so high that I simply do not comprehend, or is this a case of the Emperor's new Clothes where no one is willing to admit how badly he sucks.
    a> a typical Friedlander shot
    erm..yeah..or

    Looks like a soccer mom let loose with a camera.
    or
    where the "classic error" of letting a shrub grow out of your subject's head
    is committed.
    See it for yourself
    and they say 'Lee Friedlander is, arguably, the greatest living American photographer.' Ok I'm ranting. My favourite living photographer is Ellen von Unwerth. What are your opinions on Friedlander.
    MODERATOR'S NOTE:: DO NOT POST COPYRIGHTED IMAGES THAT YOU DO NOT OWN. IN THE FUTURE, THREADS ON THIS FORUM WITH COPYRIGHTED IMAGES WILL BE DELETED. I really don't have the time to do all this editing when people post copyrighted images.
     
  2. I think the problem lieswith you Sam. There are amny different genres of photography. The photorapher you think is great, is a fashion photographer -- in effect a very well paid salesperson. Nothing wrong with that, but let's be honest about what she or any advertising photographer does: help sell products. If you don'tunderstand something ask questions try to find out why others think the way they do, don't just dismiss out of hand because right now you don't get it.
     
  3. If you shoot for yourself (rather than with the intention of being considered "great"), you can dispense with other people's norms. The photographs above bore me to tears... Maybe looking at them today, Lee would not like them either. Maybe he took them in the thrill of the moment. Who can say? There are many, often selfish, reasons why artists create. (P.S. The "error" in the last shot is probably a parody.)
     
  4. I'd have to agree with Sam. Those pictures look straight from someone's snapshot photo albulm. Maybe its a bad representation of his work, I don't know. Being a highly acclaimed and recognized photographer has as much to do with marketing yourself as it does with talent.
     
  5. I don't think the images above are a good representation of Frielander's work. Most of the published work of his that I have seen fits within the street photography genre and is very competent. In my opinion, his photographs tend to be on the edgy side (in the vein of Robert Frank but with a sort of quirky balance). He also has a group of photographs that portray spindly looking trees in urban and suburban settings. These images are more of an acquired taste, but are intellectually interesting compositions if you view them as compositions of linear elements.
    No photographer can produce work that is going to appeal to every one. Some photographers deal with this by trying to produce work that is always conventional. In extreme cases, they won't make or keep images that run against the rules of compositions (e.g., rule of thirds, rule against mergers). Some photographers don?t feel the need to seek universal acclaim and produce work that is more vulnerable to criticism. As an educator, Lee Frielander has been experimental from a positive perspective and warrants respect for his work in this area.
     
  6. I bet that if we put Lee Friedlander's work on the photocritiques he'd score very low.
     
  7. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    I bet that if we put Lee Friedlander's work on the photocritiques he'd score very low.
    I can't think of a worse criteria for "quality" of images.
    It doesn't seem like you are listening to what people are saying. That's probably happening with your reaction to your teacher also.
     
  8. Looks at this digital link perhaps to get a bit more perspective...http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp Don't worry about what your teacher thinks is great....you can't change it...You're only in class to collect a mental toolbox. Know the tools in the box and how to use them creatively.
     
  9. what i'm most concerned about is the viewer seeing things that weren't there in the first place. It's almost like you take a random shot and people start seeing things in the photograph that you never even thought you took a picture of. This is different from Cartier-Bresson and his decisive moments.
     
  10. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    This is different from Cartier-Bresson and his decisive moments.
    If the only right way to shoot was like C-B and his decisive moments, photography would be very boring. Your comments still sound like you're not listening, either here on in your class.
     
  11. Sam, the "soccer mom" shot is brilliant. There's so much "story" in it, if you study it. I find the composition emotional and very original. What Jeff said about ratings on this site is spot-on. I think Friedlander and his old buddy Winogrand have a seemingly random way of making photos, but what they cull from it works. As for the "shrub growing out of the subject's head"--can you really imagine that L.F. was not aware of this cliche'd "rule"?
     
  12. Some of his people pictures are rather interesting but his 'cityscapes', or whatever you'd call them, do nothing for me. For myself, I'd say he's neither a genius nor talentless.
     
  13. Check out Friedlander's book, "Like A One-Eyed Cat". More or less a retrospective. Typically, people either love'em or hate'em. Friedlander's work requires viewer participation and thought. Most of his photography IS NOT meant to be an easy read. I have found that most people, not all, who don't like his work don't understand it and don't have the energy to contemplate it. He definitely is not a calendar photgrapher. There is always a purpose to his images, of course not always the same purpose.
     
  14. Most of what we are told in our formal education makes good sense and fits easily into our understanding of the world. Of course, some of what we are told makes no sense and is justly ignored. But then there are those magical moments when what we are told makes no sense, yet is true. These conundrums are the seeds of deeper, fuller understanding.
    Sam, I commend you for standing up and questioning why Friedlander is held in such high esteem by the teacher, art critics, and by some of the folks in this forum. I predict that when you truly understand the reason for his prominence, you will have a deeper understand of photography generally. Perhaps you will understand things about photography beyond what you even know to ask about now.
    For those of you that know the answer, speak up and help him out. Explain why Friedlander (or these pictures in particular, if you dare) is held in such high regard. (Frankly, I haven't a clue.) That's what this forum is for.
    I think that if you explain it, Sam will be listening.
    Joe
     
  15. I remember seeing a Friedlander photo at Cruel and Tender, at the Tate - a woman in a fast food restaurant. One of his 'worker' photos. What stuck in my mind is that in the crushingly dull surroundings, she was wearing a Marvin Gaye / Tammy Terrell t-shirt, which seemed optimistic and upbeat. For some reason, I've never shaken that image out of my mind. Then again, I thought some of his office worker photos were themselves dull, even though it was dullness and the limiting of individuality that he seemed to be driving at. I don't know what I mean by this, but the fact that it makes me think, tells me that Friedlander is not by any means talentless. If any of my photos ever provoke similar introspection in viewers, I'll be well pleased.
     
  16. 'I bet that if we put Lee Friedlander's work on the photocritiques he'd score very low.'
    That alone places him in the outstanding photographer category. Last year Friedlander got 7 - 7 and photographer of the month at the MOMA in New York.
     
  17. This is different from Cartier-Bresson and his decisive moments.
    No actually it isn't.
     
  18. This is different from Cartier-Bresson and his decisive moments.
    No actually it isn't. here is the test: trying doing it for a year or two: making photos that are are as formally rigourous as Friedlander's are and that still retain that casual unstructured look.
     
  19. The Emperor's New Clothes ....
     
  20. mike dixon

    mike dixon Moderator

    Now I don't understand Friedlander at ALL! Is he a great photography genius of a level so high that I simply do not comprehend, or is this a case of the Emperor's new Clothes where no one is willing to admit how badly he sucks.
    A few rehtorical questions for you: Are your tastes in photography now identical to what they were three years ago? Ten years ago? Do you think your current tastes in photography represent the highest possible level of sophistication/insight/understanding? Or stated another way, do you believe that your cultural and educational background provides you with the one, "true" perspective on what's good and what isn't? Do you see the possibility that your tastes might further develop (or simply change)?
    Personally, I don't find Friedlander's work that appealing. On the other hand, I was a fan of Eggleston's work (also commonly accused of being little more than banal snapshots) from the first time I saw it. Maybe I'll come to appreciate Friedlander's work more in the future. Maybe not. Even if I don't, it doesn't take away from the value of Friedlander's images.
     
  21. "what i'm most concerned about is the viewer seeing things that weren't there in the first place." Can you name a work of art where that doesn't and can't happen?
     
  22. The sample photos, especially the last two, seem to be intentionally "bad" in the sense of using photography rules: Rule of thirds, watch the backgrounds, keep the camera level, etc. I'll bet Ansel Adams had some duds in his days, too, though, so I'd be reluctant to judge him on a few selected "bad" shots, though. "bet that if we put Lee Friedlander's work on the photocritiques he'd score very low. I can't think of a worse criteria for "quality" of images." Cool! My photos are scoring low, so they must be really good!
     
  23. If you can't question your preconceived aesthetics, your work won't evolve. Frielander is fabulous and funning because of your initial reactions to his work. Congratulations ! ! !
     
  24. Beauty--or art--as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. A few years back a former girlfriend gave me a copy of Friedlander's "Like A One-Eyed Cat," which, as a previous poster mentioned, is a fair retrospective of his work. I kept the book for about three years, studied the photographs closely, and probably looked at every page of this book no less than a hundred times. I TRIED to like it. Eventually I gave it away to another photographer friend. At the time I gave the book away, I was no more attracted to Friedlander's work than the day I received the book as a gift. The opinion I had the first time I saw his work was that it was pure tripe. I still feel the same way today. I just don't get it. Of course, that's just my opinion and reflects my own taste in photographic art. And my opinion is no more valid than anyone elses.
     
  25. I like Friedlander's work quite well, although I think you're well within your right to question its merit if that's how you feel. Why do I like it? Not entirely sure, although I've noticed that I have slowly grown to appreciate it more and more as I've learned more about photography and its history. I think with Friedlander in particular, as with Frank and many others, you have to view the photos as part of a larger body of work, a larger vision, and not so much as single, self-contained pictures that you can absorb quickly and then move on. Atget's portrait of Paris consisted of thousands of pictures, all informing each other. That said, I think Friedlander has numerous pictures that stand alone as brilliant compositions of revealing moments in our society.
     
  26. I was told, to understand Friedlander, one must attempt to shoot a few rolls in his very chaotic seemingly random style in order to gain an appreciation of his work. And here we go...
    00BOQP-22201684.jpg
     
  27. My biggest worry is that Friedlander is simply the Forrest Gump of Photography and his random shots appeal to people because they see something of themselves in it.
    00BOQU-22201784.jpg
     
  28. This whole discussion reminds me of a wonderful Spy magazine recurring feature called; Face it; it sucks. One month they did fusion jazz. People really want to like it, they know they are supposed to like it, they know that it's not smart *not* to like it, but face it, it sucks. Friedlander sucks. So does Winograd. Taking a lot of pictures and culling an occasional "good" one (that people don't even agree is good) is hardly art.
     
  29. I like Friedlander, but not all his work. His last book "Sticks and Stones: Architectural America" is brilliant: shots of towns and cities in which the phone booths, traffic signs, chain link fences -- the visual crud of American cities -- take over the image. Here he is shooting cities the way they really are, not pretty pictures of beautiful views -- and the truth he shows becomes beautiful. Interestingly, the book is all shot with the Hasselblad SWC (the equivalent of a 21mm lens on a 35mm camera): I never liked using very wide angle lenses because I thought they created a artificial type of space, but Friedlander usies this brilliantly. --Mitch
     
  30. Why is it that some think that a good, valid photograph should be perfectly clean composed and made with all the 'rules of photography' in mind? What Lee Friedlander photographs tell me is that he knew exactly what he was doing and why he was doing it.
     
  31. When you're starting out, you're taught all these wonderful rules of composition and how to take good pictures and all that advice. Then along comes supposedly one of the greatest living photographers and he seems to not have a clue that we're supposed to do this and that.
     
  32. Ugh, I don't like that Friedlander stuff at all. It seems kind of like those "modern artists" who paint a square and call it art. I see that as a pretentious obsession with sophistication--people think it's genius to create something so crappy that only someone equally "refined" will see how brilliant it is. Brilliant people don't concern themselves with being avant garde. They have their priorities straight. For photographers, that means focusing on creating works that please the eyes and communicate a mood. It's hard to do that really well. It takes talent. Perfecting the craft means rising above the rest in one's ability to perform it, not just wandering off into crazyland where nobody else has gone and for good reason. A scientist would not get respect for promoting a deliberately idiotic hypothesis. A football player would not get respect for defying the trends and trying not to score any touchdowns. A police officer would not get respect for deliberately letting criminals go. Yet if an artist or photographer decides to such a ridiculously bad job, there's always a little crowd of people anxious to say "wow... it's great!" and play like they're the only ones who get it. I've attached an image (public domain) that an art professor told me is a profound study in decay. I disagree, and I dare say he made that up on the spot because it sounded good. Anyone care to explain what's so sophisticated about this stupid picture of a spoon?
    00BOnP-22211584.jpg
     
  33. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    When you're starting out, you're taught all these wonderful rules of composition and how to take good pictures and all that advice.
    Here's the core of the problem. If you believe that those "rules" are supposed to make great photographs, you're dreaming. The "rules" are learning tools at best. Lots of great art violates the "rules." There is only one rule to composition, and that is that the rules work.
     
  34. The glowing idolisation of patently bad "art" is often the subject of comedy skits - with the hapless protagonist feeling totally left out while surrounded by ooing and gooing crowds examining something utterly meaningless. So at least it makes for good comedy.
    Well put, Jason, and I'm sorry to say that I can't help you with the spoon. Is it a runcible spoon, by any chance?
     
  35. A scientist would not get respect for promoting a deliberately idiotic hypothesis.
    Get a load of this
     
  36. Emre, that sounds like wonderful reading - I've just added it to my amazon wish list - Thanks!
     
  37. rj

    rj

    I can't say I am a fan of Friedlanders. Most of the stuff of his that I have seen has left me with, well, with nothing. My dislike has nothing to do with how many rules of photography he has broken, whatever those are, but with the fact that the shots don't take me in and make me want to look at them. I personally like Jackson Pollock's work very much, not a rule to be had, but his paintings leave me with a lasting impression. They make me want to look at them. To each his own.
     
  38. "A scientist would not get respect for promoting a deliberately idiotic hypothesis." No? Remember "Cold Fusion"? Been following "Intelligent Design"? However, the problem is determining what's idiotic. Quantum Mechanics and the earlier Heliocentric theory were not at all universally and immediately accepted with great applause, and the conflicts at their birth makes the Leica Forum at its worst seem like Mr. Roger's Neigborhood.
     
  39. You're right Emre--I wondered if anyone would bring up the Sokal Hoax when I wrote that. That is the one exceptional case where a scientist became famous for publishing deliberately absurd ideas. Of course, the ridiculous ideas he published in Social Text weren't scientific ideas he was actually trying to get accepted. They were bait in a parody to make a point about the absurd academic standards of social theorists. And that point was very real. So Sokal's respect came from the very valid point he was making about intellectual standards. The ridiculous scientific statements he published were just tools in his experiment. :)
     
  40. Also, bear in mind that by getting respect (regarding scientists, anyway) I mean the respect of qualified peers in the field. "Intelligent design," for example, may have the respect of some random uneducated members of the public, but it's no more a respected scientific theory than palm reading, tarot cards, and horoscopes...
     
  41. Friedlander takes a shot, everyone oohs and ahhs and proclaims brilliance because he shot it. Someone else takes the same shot, everyone laughs at the amateur who didn't hold the camera straight, focus, and try to avoid clutter.
     
  42. rj

    rj

    Sam, you seem to feel quite strongly about this. Maybe you should concentrate your photography to be anti-Friedlander. What I mean, is that maybe your photography should be more of a study in technique and perfection of the image.
     
  43. >>>Friedlander takes a shot, everyone oohs and ahhs and proclaims brilliance because he shot it. Someone else takes the same shot, everyone laughs at the amateur who didn't hold the camera straight, focus, and try to avoid clutter.<<< You're like the people who, looking at an abstract painting, say, a Picasso or a Pollock, used to say "my seven-year old child can do better."
     
  44. At the onset of your career if you convince enough influential elitists that your subpar work is meaningful and thought-provoking than your destined to be a legend. I dont think breaking the rules of photography automatically designates you a "renegade" genius who thinks outside the box. There are probably a thousand Friedlander-type shots taken everyday, but only he gets a free pass to put them in a gallery.
     
  45. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Sam, rather than this being even vaguely a discussion, you have decided to ignore what anyone says and just rant on. Not much point to it anymore.
     
  46. face it...Friedlander and Winogrand's work just is not for everybody. not all art can be comprehended by everyone. that is just the way it is. if you just don't get it you can either work at trying to understand it or walk away. the fact that it is appreciated by many might give one the motivation to look deeper.
     
  47. Claudia I agree 100% when you say his work is not for everybody. Apparently many love him and thats fine. The problem I have is when you suggest that the dissenters aren't able to "comprehend" his work or "just don't get it." This implies that its not a matter of taste or style but rather intelligence. Lets not suggest that his devoted following are on a higher psychological and intellectual level than us simple peasants.
     
  48. Daniel, your point is well taken. what i should have said rather than "don't get it" is "don't appreciate it" which is in no way related to intelligence or psychology and does not demean anyone. but, you do have to look at an artist's body of work when they have been deemed "important" rather than a few images. in my case, there are many artists and photographers that i did not appreciate when first exposed to their work, but over time found that questioning my first impression and learning more about why others found their work to have merit caused me to change my mind.
     
  49. yeah, that Winogrand guy couldn't even hold a camera straight and he called himself a photog.. that Pollock guy had a good ol' time dripping paint here and there and called it Art??? and what's this fascination with cubic and squarish people??? that Hendrix guy sold feedback as "music"? don't even get me started on the Friedlander and Eggleston's stupid pictures.. i mean, it's all emperor's clothes, don't it? :D
     
  50. It isn't about being "comprehended." I'd bet money that if you took ten pretentious, avant garde photographers and gave them a series of a dozen Friedlander photos they'd never seen before to interpret, every photographer would come up with a completely different interpretation of every photo. And not in a good, deliberate way, but in a pointless, ambiguous way. Also, I bet that if in those dozen Friedlanders you mixed in a few that were instead taken by a 4 year old with the same equipment, not one of the artsy stuck-ups would suspect the switch, and they wouldn't miss a beat in offering some long-winded interpretation of the deeper meaning of an out of focus shot of a happy meal.
     
  51. mike dixon

    mike dixon Moderator

    Which is more pretentious: coming up with varied interpretations of a photographers work (and I'll grant you there's plenty of room for pretense there), or arrogantly proclaiming (re photogaphy's primary goal), "For photographers, that means focusing on creating works that please the eyes and communicate a mood." At least in the former case, they're not ignoring 150 years of photographic history.
     
  52. Hi Sam, I just took a look at your two ala Friedlaner photos. I dunno how to say this Sam, I wanna let you down easy, but you just don?t make it as a Friedlander wannabe. Your two pictures are no where near as bad as his. For cripe's sake, in one of 'em you?ve got two people placed at the intersection of rule of third lines. This will never do. You've got to work hard if you wanna be as bad as Friedlander. (I'm so sorry about all the dumb looking ? marks in place of commas and some punctuation marks. I typed this out in word and pasted it in, and it was full of ? marks, and I'm too tired after writing this tome to go through it all and correct it. I hope you'll bear with it and read it anyway. TF) I'm so surprized that the words "modernism" and "postmodernis" have not come up in this thread. Most of the intellectuals and artists who have promoted Friedlander and his ilk would be throwin' those terms around like applesauce in a food fight at this point. I've hung around these folks for awhile, and listened to a lot of their talk, and I think I have some vague understanding of where they?re coming from, and how Friedlander fits in. I?m going to use my response to your forum question as an opportunity to work it out on paper and see if it makes sense. And if it makes any sense at all to me at the end of it, I'll pass it on to you all, and you can all throw applesauce at me. First of all, I think it is necessary to understand and accept that those artists and intellectuals who promote the likes of Friedlander?the curators of most of the photography museums and galleries from MOMA on down, as well as the academics who teach art history and photo history in our colleges and universities, as well as the publishers and editors of magazines such as Aperture?are politically and intellectually of the left wing?and the post Marxist ideas on the study of symbols, including semiotics, and deconstruction, are all part of their intellectual turf. They are of quite a different political and philisophical stripe than, say, the editors and publishers of our daily newspapers, the editors of the old time Look and Life, or, (maybe this is a little over the top), the publishers of the Reader? Digest publication, ?This is America, a Photographic Journey,? which was a book to be found on my aunt and uncle?s coffee table back in the sixties, and contained photo after photo of sunsets over the grand canyon, brooklets with moving water, contented cows, and the like. My aunt and uncle were, you guessed it, Goldwater republicans. But even here, I would say, the influence of this group of left intellectuals and artists could be felt. Usually when talking about art movements, or how you categorize a movement or a style, we do so by identifying the curves, the lines, the frills, the gestures on the artifacts themselves, rather than by understanding what gave rise to the movement. I?d like to use music as an example, as I?m a little more sure of my footing with music history than with art history. Bach is usually categorized as baroque because of certain harmonic innovations of his time, because of his use of counterpoint, and a certain type of embellishment, and other stylistic cues. That he is categorized as baroque has little to do with the particular kind of Protestant Lutheran Christian Bach was, as opposed to the music of other Christians before him, such as the Catholic Palestrina. The distinction between the two seems to me to be profound, yet it is hardly ever spoken or written about. Similarly, Haydn and Mozart are categorized as classical because, although they used a similar triadic harmony to Bach?s, they relied little on counterpoint, and the embellishment they used was distinctly lighter and more delicate. That they are categorized as classical has little to do with the function of their music--that of socialization. So something very profound happened in those few generations between Bach, and Haydn and Mozart. Music turned away from being in the service of God to being in the service of the earthly society. That?s a big deal. Yet we understand these musical categorizations as being about embellishments, and the use or non use of counterpoint. We miss the point this way. Something just as profound happened going from modernism to post- modernism?at least it was profound to those left-wing socialists cum Marxist artists and intellectuals of whom I?m speaking. There was a profound change in their relationship, and the relationship of artistic expression, to popular culture, and to capitalism. The linchpin of modernism was art?s automnomy from the sordid daily concerns of popular culture. The modernist artist seperated him or her self from the banalities of everyday life to create what postmodernists consider useless and and disassociated art objects. This modernist art was contemptuous of the given, everyday world, and sought to create alternative worlds. Postmodernists felt that the modernists were suffering from an illusion in attempting to isolate themselves from mainstream culture, because the very material of their work?in the case of photography, images-- came from the mainstream culture. Further, they felt that the self exile of artists precluded access to the energy of the culture, and severed any connection to an audience beyond an artistic elite. They?the postmodernists?felt that the answer was to embrace popular culture, and make it the basis of artistic expression. In the case of photography, this results in a celebration of the ?snapshot,? and the development of a whole body of photographic criticism concerning something called the ?snapshot aesthetic,??as well as to photographers such as Lee Friedlander and others of his ilk. And so--to those of us trained in a ?higher? art, to those of us who know about rules of compostion, and hierarchies of subject matter, and texture and tonal values?when we look at a Friedlander photo, we see a snapshot. And we see a snapshot that isn?t interesting. It isn?t interesting because it doesn?t contain our grandchildren, our dogs, our homes, and everything that is important to us as individuals. The Friedlanders of the photo world are using the banalities of the snapshot? the flash overxposure of foregrounds, the out of focus faces, the inclusion of the dogdish in the corner?apparantly thinking that the banalities are the message. I think they miss the boat here. The power of snapshots is not in the banalities, but in the fact that that is someone?s daughter in that snapshot. The people comprising the ?popular culture? simply overlook the banalities of their snapshots, and go directly to the content. They must be really confused when they go to a gallery and see the same kinds of banalities they overlooked in their snapshots, called ?art.? And so the postmodernists have come full circle, having rejected an elite art? modernism?only to conjure up an even more elite art meant to express the popular culture?postmodernism. It doesn't. Tom
     
  53. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    For photographers, that means focusing on creating works that please the eyes
    Mike has already pointed out the folly of this statement, but I will add that most of the photographers I know have a wide variety of interests in producing photographs, and many of those have nothing to do with "pleasing the eyes." <p This is an incredibly simplistic view of photography, suiting the mind of someone who sees the 4 year old mind as incapable of seeing some pretty amazing things.
     
  54. Sam.
    The following link is to a write-up on Lee and the write-up should give you a better idea about the who and what of Lee Friedlander. Follow the hot links included in the write-up and take the time to read all that's attached to the hot links. When you go to class on Monday, or whenever your next class meeting is, you'll be in a much better position to discuss your feelings about Lee with your instructor.
    Lee is a talented photographer who was marketed by genius', but great he wasn't. Why? Cause few contemporary artistic photographers qualify as "Genius" or "Great" as little ground, if any at all was broken by his photojournalistic style, replicated by many, going back to Atget and those who came before which he might have admired.
    These terms (Genius, Talented, Greatest living American photographer) are terms freely flung about in the prejudiced art establishment cause it serves the marketing types for the purpose of making money. No hype, no monistic appreciation. Remember, it's a business first and foremost for the educators, the museums, and the galleries. No money, no job as the purity of Stieglitz and Ansel Adam's is long gone.
    For the sanity of the forum, I'll reserve expansion on my above.
    Just a couple insightful thoughts Sam:
    A collection of junk doesn't increase in value until it ages (history) or gets hyped; exampled by the recently hyped historical auction of the Kennedy's summer house contents.
    And
    It's a long historical journey back to the Renaissance and the Ancients (humanities) so as to understand the hype (who and why) of today's contemporary photographic artists; like them or not.
    Hope my above helps give you some insight as to the conflict between what your instructor sees (admires) and what you see (rejects).
     
  55. Can someone post an example of a decent photograph that neither pleases the eyes nor conveys an emotion? The other type of decent photo I didn't mention was the kind that simply documents what something looks like: here's my house, here's a spleen, here's the family at Christmas, here's poison ivy don't touch it, etc. So that's a very valid, non-artistic use for photography. However, for artistic photography, I stand by my statement: I think that if an "artistic" photo isn't pretty and it doesn't convey a mood/emotion, it sucks. (Bear in mind, those are VERY broad requirements.) If you disagree, show me an exception.
     
  56. mike dixon

    mike dixon Moderator

    Not sure what the point of such a puerile game would be. If it doesn't meet your criteria, you'd simply insist it's not really an artistic photograph (even if, like the work of Friedlander, Eggleston, Winogrand, etc. it is recognized as art by museums, history books, and millions of people who do appreciate its merits). Why not cut out the (pretentious?) verbiage, and go directly to the heart of the game:
    Is too!
    Is not!
    Is too!
    Is not!
    Is too!!
    Is not!!
    IS TOO!!!
    IS NOT!!!!!

    . . .
     
  57. 'that means focusing on creating works that please the eyes and communicate a mood' Or asking an interesting question; or communicating an interesting idea; or being witty; or denouncing an injustice; or informing the viewer of something they may not have known before, etc., etc. Looking at Friedlander's work gives me pleasure, because his photos are clever and witty. It is often difficult to say precisely what they are photographs of. I may have been introduced to him because of the attention of critics like Szarowski, but I don't feel any need to justify my taste by reference to them or anyone else. They stimulate me, and make me think, which is what I want photographs to do. I also admire his commitment to photographic history, which reveals a lot about his intentions: he went to great pains to find a way of printing Bellocq's negatives of early 1900s New Orleans when these were rediscovered, and no one could figure out how to get an acceptable print (they were glass, and extremely contrasty). An example of one of these Bellocq prints is the only 'name' photo I have ever been tempted to buy: not because of what was in it (tho I find some of Bellocq's images very moving), but because of the historical layers it contained as an artefact and the commitment it represented.
     
  58. "They stimulate me, and make me think, which is what I want photographs to do." Okay. I'll bite. Dumb question. What do Friedlander's images make you think of and what exactly is stimulated in your thinking processes. I read this sort of comment all the time, but little mentione is made in which to flesh out this overarching claim of intellectual stimulation. Not saying someone's images such as Friedlander's can't stimulate someone's thought processes, it would be nice for someone to fill in the blanks of how and what it is in their intellect that's stimulated. As a simplified example below: For me, Walker Evans fails to stimulate but Dorthea Lange fails not to stimulate; emotions. For me, Garry Winogrand stimulates; humor/life's dynamics but Lee Friedlander leaves me empty; okay, when's the show gonna begin? Atget shows me nothing; static, but Stieglitz gives life; action. Early Sherman; cool idea, contemporary Sherman; immature as in; "Come on girl, that's all ya got?" Lewis Hine, daring, sensitive, risk taker. Berenice Abbott, safe and predictable by comparison. Mapplethorpe; beautiful, sensitive and skilled when compared to the crass; ("That's the best ya got?) nature of Serrano. WeeGee, the first papparazzi when compared to the Grand Guignol (Freaks are us.) nature of Lisette Model 55. Thanks in advance:)
     
  59. "Looking at Friedlander's work gives me pleasure, because his photos are clever and witty." If you might expand on the above point. I see clever and witty in Winogrand but not in Friedlander.
     
  60. "I see clever and witty in Winogrand but not in Friedlander." You don't see anything funny in that shot of Nina Szarkowski with the shrub growing out of her head? I mean, even if there's nothing deep in the parallel with the other tree, that's *Szarkowski's* kid. IMO, it's not hilarious nor earth-shaking, but it's worth at least a quick grin.
     
  61. the loaf of bread attached to the head in this one always gives me a chuckle.......ClickyClicky
     
  62. shrub in the head funny? It's the Ernest P. Wally type funny. It's the Wayans brothers humour. It's so dumb that you wonder. Famous Photographer sticks shrub on head - funny. Regular Joe does it - not funny. I agree with some of you, Garry Winogrand is hiliarious in a more subtle way. But try as I might, Friedlander is not funny.
     
  63. hahaha! ok Claudia. Loaf of Bread part IS funny *LOL*
     
  64. I don't consider that good photography but I have to admit it is pretty damn funny.
     
  65. Personally, I like Eggleston, whose colour photos are extremely moody and powerful statements of a personal vision. I'm less familiar with Lee Friedlander, but I really think that the 2nd and 3rd examples are wonderful. They definitely do not look like snapshots, but rather careful compositions which take on a deliberate chaotic look and pack a powerful emotional punch. I do not think the first one is that great. I admit I don't really get it. However, you should not dismiss an artist by just picking on just one of two bad pictures by a photographers. You have to look at his entire portfolio. Anyhow, I think that photos that you take cannot really equate to Lee Friedlanders' better photos. If you can't see the difference then too bad.
     
  66. "I mean, even if there's nothing deep in the parallel with the other tree, that's *Szarkowski's* kid." If it helps, (not trying to be disrespectful,) I'd find it equally poor aesthetics if Friedlander created an image of a tree growing out of my kid's head:) The humorous efforts at ironic irony fails me; this, understanding who John and Nina are. To me, it's sort of like a noted rock personality (Elton and Mick) of today, taking shots of them and their buddies goofing off at Malibu; so personal in nature as to lose any artistic merit. And then for John to promote the image is a bit self-serving in nature and calls into question his nutrality as both a critic and curator. But then again, just for argument's sake, to be easy going, I'll find the irony, ironic and humorous. "Check it out dude!" "Friedlander's got a tree growing out of Szarkowski's kid's head." "Now that's funny!" :)
     
  67. For me the dynamic of this thread has not been "IS TOO!" v. "IS NOT!", but people such as Mike Dixon and Jeff Spirer accepting Sam's and others' feelings and perceptions as valid, but trying to show him where they are coming from, whereas most of the anti Friedlander posters are trying to label the people who like LF's work as somehow phoney, or greedy, or deluded; politically suspect ("socialist"), etc. The ad hominem argument: you are either a "fool or a knave" if you disagree with me. Way too much generalisation about writers, critics, curators, etc, from folks who I suspect have little or no personal contact with them. Sam: your attempts at Friedlander type pix fail because they are not chaotic enough. They are very direct and simple compositions. Friedlander's best work is random and chaotic looking, deliberately, but in fact tells a pretty coherent story. The first one you directed us to: "a typical Friedlander shot" is about work: within the frame (and the tree on the left is a framing device) you have the workers around the hoardings; the sculpture of muscular individuals in action; the pickup truck; the port-a-potty; the construction mess around it; and the Steel frame of the building in the background. It doesn't matter if your granny can do this with a point n' shoot-of course she can. It's photography. If she can do it on a regular basis, in the thousands, recognise it and appreciate it, she's an artist, and I recommend she find an agent. Blows my mind that you can appreciate Winogrand but not LF. What is it that you see in Winogrand, that Friedlander doesn't do? Sorry about the longwindedness. Best, John
     
  68. "Friedlander's best work is random and chaotic looking, deliberately,..."
    Most of Friedlander's efforts, that I'm familiar with are clean as opposed to chaotic. "Best work...," at best is a subjective interpretation:)
    Lee Friedlander: Jazz Portraits
    Lee Friedlander by Jody Zellen
    Fraenkel Gallery; Lee Friedlander
    Lee Friedlander At Work
    It's as if people are talking about a different person then the one so freely published:)
    "Way too much generalisation about writers, critics, curators, etc, from folks who I suspect have little or no personal contact with them."
    Yes. It seems that that's what folks are doing in regard to Lee's efforts. Too bad he's not aware of this thread and can weight in on it. That would be cool.
     
  69. Hard to know what you're on about Thomas. One entitled "Albuquerque 1972"-which I think is brilliant. You have: a dog cut in half by a street sign pole that diappears through the top of the frame; afire hydrant; stop signals; 1/2 a highrise apt. bldg; part of a car; a short block wall with the shadow of the street sign on it; a suburban house; a telephone pole, the wires to all these poles running-dare I say chaotically?-across the top of the frame; the road and the lines on the road, a scraggly patch of grass, etc. One entitled "Chicago 1966" a couple of figures hidden amongst an iron column; a steel phone box on a pole, etc., with an obscured bank or restaurant sign as backdrop; 1/8 of another sign hangs at the top. Some would say this looks chaotic. Then there's the one I alluded to in my previous post. Yes he has tight images; the shadow of his head on the head of the lady in front of him-a kind if variation of the tree growing out of the head; [he has a few jokes like these]-; the jazz pix. Maybe what I like about him is he's a smart photographer; even a smart-ass photographer. Not too many conventional images; he shoots in an abrasive way and makes you react.
     
  70. "Hard to know what you're on about Thomas." Just trying to point out that Lee is more structured in his efforts then some realize and the more you explore his product, you come to realize he's not as chaotic as some of his images might leave one to believe.
     
  71. His Jazz portraits are nice! As for the rest...I'll quote Oscar Wilde: It is only an auctioneer who can equally and impartially admire all schools of art.
     
  72. "that means focusing on creating works that please the eyes and communicate a mood"

    Or asking an interesting question; or communicating an interesting idea; or being witty; or denouncing an injustice; or informing the viewer of something they may not have known before, etc., etc.


    All of those things: asking questions, communicating ideas, being witty, and so on, are better done with words than pictures if they are the only goal. The reason to use pictures instead of words is to capture some emotion you're trying to communicate along with your message.
     
  73. I would suggest that you take more time to view more of his work. The links posted by Thomas Gardner show a greater image diversity than the photos you have chosen. His work in the '60's was important in that he was breaking stereotypes of what images "should" look like. This opened up a whole new aesthetic as to what a photo could be instead of what it should be. Freidlander's photos have given several generations of photographers the freedom to compose photos any way they want and especially without rules. Do I like his photos? Yes, some of them I find very complex and well seen. Do I like all of his photos? No. But then, I can't think of one photographer that I can say I unequivocally like every single photo. Look more carefully at his work (and more of it). Try and find one or two photos you like, and then carefully examine them and ask yourself why you like it. That's always the first step in learning to appreciate something new. However, even after spending some time seriously looking at his work, you may find it much like I find sushi - inedible except when accompanied by copious amounts of gin and tonic. That's okay. A famous philosopher once said, "A man's got to know his limitations."
     
  74. since Friedlander has long been an established part of the photography equivalent of a "hall of fame," it does seem a bit pointless to go on about whether he is talentless doesn't it? he's there and unless he is somehow "deshrined" it is moot. his work with flowers and stems points to his versatility...who would have predicted from his previous work that he would approach that subject?
     
  75. The last two paragraphs in the below article, may help lend some clarity to the original question.
    Lee Friedlander by Jody Zellen
    Unfortunately, a lot of appreciation, intellectually speaking, requires research as to "whaz-happ-i-nin" within the genre, be it stock car racing, golf or contemporary photographic artistic efforts; last forty years.
    Personally, I think all three genres are pretty much stupid but if there's to be understanding, then research is going to be required on everybody's part. And in the end, it's all about entertainment.
    The point of my above is, understanding and agreement are two different points-of-view as one can understand the need to go around in circles at up to two hundred plus MPH or chase a little white ball about an eighteen hole course but one does not necessarily need to agree with the reasoning one might give as to their reasoning behind exhibiting these sorts of behaviors; personal choice.
    Hope my above helps lends some clarity to your question.
     
  76. Friedlander's style has a purity, a directness and a simplicity that I find refreshing. He excells in assembling visual clutter. If his work appears redundant, chaotic or haphazard, it's because he meant it to be that way. I've read that his work is related to that of Walker Evans in his direct approach to his subjects. I can see that. Since photography is a broad category, it's unlikely everything will appeal to everyone. That's okay. There are quite a few well known photographers out there whose work I don't have much interest in seeing. Doesn't mean their work is without merit. It just means it doesn't appeal to my tastes.
     
  77. There will always be a premium on originality, aesthetics be damned. I don't need to buy a Friedlander book of photos for my coffee table, because I already have one of my own. With my own photos in it. Too bad they aren't original ideas, or they might be of some value to others. I don't particularly like Friedlander, but that is not relavent. His work, like it or not, has left it's stamp on culture. Several references to Jackson Pollock above, about how a third grader couldv'e done that. Yes, a third grader couldv've, but they didn't. Most anyone couldv've taken Friedlanders photos, but most anyone didn't.
     
  78. mike dixon

    mike dixon Moderator

    For me the dynamic of this thread has not been "IS TOO!" v. "IS NOT!", . . .
    Just to clarify, my comment about the "is too, is not" game was refering to the previous poster saying that others should present examples to prove his definition (which had no logical, historical, or pragmatic basis) of artistic photography was incorrect. Trying to understand the value of a particular photographer (or genre) is certainly worthwhile, though it's debatable whether that was the genuine intent of the original poster.
     
  79. I have had a hard time dealing with Friedlander's images but then I was looking at photographs by Costas Menos and Alex Webb (both Magnum photographers) and I swear they are borrowing elements out of Friedlander. So maybe pure Friendlander is like baking chocolate quite inedible by itself but mixed with a little color, better light and more intereting subject matter becomes quite appealing. Perhaps, one must study Friedlander style not because it is attractive by itself, but because it can be an influence in helping to break up formalism, convention and rigidity in ones own photography.
     
  80. one must consider zeitgeist vis a vis the photographer. in looking at Friedlander's work one has to understand the culture and the time in which he was working. i think his work holds up...but perhaps not to the uninformed who are looking merely at the formal aspects without the historical overlay. both the temporal/cultural and the formal aspects should be considered when evaluating the quality of work.
     
  81. As with many forms of art, if you possess charisma or can otherwise acquire a form of it with the help of publicity agents, then YOU become the star, not what you produce. And if you're clever enough to pull it off that surely pushes you toward the genius end of the scale.
     
  82. "That is the one exceptional case where a scientist became famous for publishing deliberately absurd ideas. " There was an article in Nature, a well-regarded scientific paper, written by some guys about how the women athletes will run faster than the men in year two-thousand-something. They based their calculus and the whole absurd theory on a linear extrapolation of the olympic results of the athletes. The editor somehow accepted this for publication. By the way: A 14 year old kid average in math can calculate in the same way, that in a few hundred years the athletes will break the sound speed barrier.
     
  83. Thomas, John Lo Pinto has done a pretty good job of analysing a couple of shots for you in specific terms. I have Friedlander's book of self-portraits, which are witty and thought-provoking because they question the idea of what a self-portrait is or might be, and in what sense any photographer is 'present' in his or her work, and also (to revert unavoidably to a bit of borderline gobbledygook) question what we mean by identity in the first place. They take some stock photographic motifs (shadows and reflections mainly) and then take them to a much more complex level than other photogs. do. Maybe that's still not specific enough for you, but I don't particularly want to get bogged down in attempted definitions of 'identity' et al., because it seems to me that Friedlander's pics are clearer on these topics than anything I might say. If you don't see it, then you're entitled to say so, but that doesn't mean everyone else has been suckered by no-nothing critics. I quite liked your summary by the way - but I suspect our personal 'canons' are never likely to coincide, because to me Walker Evans is no. 1 (because his work has directly inspired, and continues to inspire, pretty much every photo I take, not because I have been brainwashed). The images posted at the start of this thread are actually quite weak, IMO, but that's like taking a few random sentences from Madame Bovary and arguing that the novel is banal because they are. A discussion should start from images that are exemplary of a photog.'s work, not out-takes, B sides and filler.
     
  84. The first science of the photographer is to know how to look. One looks with one's eyes. The same world, seen through different eyes, is not exactly the same. It is the world seen through personality. With one snap of the shutter, the lens registers the world from the outside, and the photographer from the inside.
    Germaine Krull..............1926
     
  85. Claudia, you keep referring to the "uninformed" and continue to imply that those who do not care for Friedlander's work have not quite reached that higher plane of understanding that you obviously have. This is quite tiresome. There are plenty of art historians and critics who don't care for his work, just as there are many who praise it. In something as subjective as art, neither side is right nor wrong; these are simply opinions. Similarly, I feel his photography is tripe; you don't. The difference here is that I admit that this is only my opinion, and am open to the possibility that I may be wrong. You, obviously, are quite certain that you are correct and that anyone who disagrees with your assessment just doesn't measure up to your obvious superior intellectual horsepower.
     
  86. I have Friedlander's book of self-portraits, which are witty and thought-provoking because they question the idea of what a self-portrait is or might be, and in what sense any photographer is 'present' in his or her work, and also (to revert unavoidably to a bit of borderline gobbledygook) question what we mean by identity in the first place. They take some stock photographic motifs (shadows and reflections mainly) and then take them to a much more complex level than other photogs. do.
    Is this a conclusion you came to on your own based upon your observations? Or is this a conclusion someone else came to which you read about? Or is this something that Lee said about of his own efforts? Too me, these are very important distictions.
    Maybe that's still not specific enough for you, but I don't particularly want to get bogged down in attempted definitions of 'identity' et al.,
    But that sort of bogging down is what my question is about cause how the viewer of the artistic effort is impacted, in their own words, too me, is the valid critique which I'm asking about. This as opposed to say Szarkoski's critique as he's the curator who decides what goes into MOMA and what stays home. Too me, reading what a critic such as John has to say is sort of like reading what "Frito-Lay" has to say about "Fritos:)"
    How much has your education had on your critiquing process? How much of what you were taught regarding good or bad art, which is of a very subjective nature, have you challenged? Do you apply this questioning of "authority" towards your view point on Friedlander's efforts? So, too me, the "attempted definitions of 'identity' et al.," and what you and others have to say, is very important as what you have to say, lends faceting to the individuals efforts.
    ...because it seems to me that Friedlander's pics are clearer on these topics than anything I might say.
    Fleshing out comments such as your above would helpful. How are they clearer and on what topics; a chest of drawers with a mirror and a telly on the top?
    If you don't see it, then you're entitled to say so, but that doesn't mean everyone else has been suckered by no-nothing critics.
    But I don't consider you a "no-nothing" critic. Your reaction and the why is just as valid as that of Clement Greenberg, Jeff Wall or John Szarkowski.
    I quite liked your summary by the way - but I suspect our personal 'canons' are never likely to coincide, because to me Walker Evans is no. 1 (because his work has directly inspired, and continues to inspire, pretty much every photo I take, not because I have been brainwashed).
    My "Canons" are based on what I term "The West Coast School of Grand Landscapes" as opposed to "citified" photojournalism or dictated efforts by the FSA in regard to Walker Evans depression era pics. (Not being pejorative in my comment just commenting on the genesis of the images.)
    The images posted at the start of this thread are actually quite weak, IMO, but that's like taking a few random sentences from Madame Bovary and arguing that the novel is banal because they are. A discussion should start from images that are exemplary of a photog.'s work, not out-takes, B sides and filler.
    A point we both agree upon, hence why I posted many links to additional efforts as I didn't feel the original images accurately reflected on Friedlander's efforts and was too narrow in scope, a snapshot if you will, of his efforts.
    Thanks for your comments and will look forward to more of them.
    "The diamond is but one stone, yet it takes many facets to bring out it's true brilliance."
     
  87. Thomas - as a photographer, I'm self-educated (as you are), and I've never taken a course in history of art either.
     
  88. "Thomas - as a photographer, I'm self-educated (as you are), and I've never taken a course in history of art either." If it helps, I have taken courses in photography and art history; I've been fortunate so as to not let the instructor's prejudices get in the way of my forming an opinion:) The art history courses were very cursory or superficial in nature at best and failed to reveal the underlying politics which make art history what it is today. The devil in art history are the politics. I think Mark Twain made comment of a similar kind:) I think his quote was something along the lines of: "I never let my education get in the way of learning." Maybe someone can provide a more accurate quote on the matter. My photographic art education, in the 70's, was via Weston, Ansel Adams and Minor White (West Coast School of Grand Landscapes.) I wasn't educated in the way of New York City, Paris, photo-journalism, Eggleston, Winogrand or Friedlander:) But, thanks to the web, I've, as you suggested, been able to continue my education. A point which I'm very grateful of. My formal education and early employment was via commercial photography, (LF; dishes, pots & pans, silver, crystal, hot lights,) weddings and environmental portraits; non-artsy kinds of photography. Congrats are in order on your autodidactic efforts as you probably have a better education then if you had listen to the ingrained subjective prejudices of a university professor who has to stick to a syllabus:)
     
  89. there are a lot of people here that know what they like and what they don't like. That's a good thing. Some people like comic books, some like biographies. Some people like Turner or Rembrandt or Degas. All very different. All well know creative people have also put out work that they might not think is the greatest that they have ever done. But it is part of a body of work or an exploration. As an analogy some travel guides are good but can be boring in places. Same for artists. Pick an icon, Ansel Adams a holy name to be sure. I'm not always knocked out by the work. Some is amazing, some is ho hum. Now what about Friedlander? Some work is amazing some is ho hum. Relax everyone. It's just art! The only people who are really concerned are the collectors. The artists seldom profit in any large way during their lifetime. A very few lucky creative people yes; but the remaining 98 percent are working for food or have a day job and shoot for the art and love of it on their own time and money. Friedlander and all the artists mentioned above and all the rest I didn't mention are just people. Enjoy what you like. I think any of them would be astounded if they knew everyone liked everything they did. Why do you think everyone should like what you like? You are on a slippery slope, Sam. thought du jour Jan
     
  90. Maybe Friedlander was interesting in a historic perspective, sort of like beatnik poetry readings. Maybe he was the first to say that studied art can look just like your first roll of film from your first ever 'real'camera. Maybe the new artlessness looked refreshing at the time, but just does not stand up as well, I dunno. Winogrand seemed to take millions of pictures of just about anything, hoping to play the odds of a good shot (there are a few). I have heard about his fearlessness, but some of the shots look like sneaky waist level snaps. Neither of these guys is in the same league as an HCB or Saldado, or even certain essays I've seen on the net. But these guys are made, and presumably their prints sell, so there you are. Thanks for entering this topic. I hope we can soon also begin picking apart Karsh.
     
  91. "Some is amazing, some is ho hum." How very, very true.
     
  92. James O'Gara wrote: "... People really want to like it, they know they are supposed to like it, they know that it's not smart *not* to like it, but face it, it sucks ..." My sentiments exactly.
     
  93. Ditto Jeff and Ellis, both excellent responses. Also: Rules are made to be broken, but learn them first and you'll know why! Indeed, if you want to take sides in the debate of the supposed genius of others, most likely you are missing the point. Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration, Einstein reckoned he was wrong most of the time, but when he was right, he was right! Take it easy all.
     
  94. Talentless, at least in the context of museum/gallery worthy photos. Out of context both are merely badly framed snapshots. The girl doesn't just have a bush behind her - it's difficult to see where her head stops and the bush begins. The one of the laughing man simply shows that people with mishung curtains still find things funny. Great art here? No. The test of course would be to take 10 Friedlander photos and 10 random miscentered snapshots that fit the general theme. Mix them and see if the experts (who theoretically haven't seen any of these twenty photos before) can pick them out reliably. Presumably, the work of a drunk snapshooter with a disposable camera should be distinguishable from that of the greatest photographer... Even if there is genius in his work, it's in the concept - perhaps his photos are supposed to contrast other work by other artists. A few photos in a given style can provide useful context to other photos, or can provide an example that would take the proverbial thousand words to describe. However if everything you do is badly framed and of uninteresting subjects, maybe you really are a hack. It's interesting to note that a three-year old with a disposable P&S could create Friedlander's work. A toddler with finger-paints could reproduce much modern art. I, with MS Paint, could create "Voice of Fire" by Barnett Newman. All this suggests that the only thing making the art famous (and worth a lot) is the name on the canvas, because I certainly haven't sold many prints at my asking price of a mere $100K. Maybe this was a sokal hoax but where the hoaxer cashed the cheque before revealing the hoax and decided to keep it secret. Maybe we should get James Randi to debunk bad art, and pretentious art critics, as well as just psychic kooks.
     
  95. Taking one or two of Friedlanders work out of context of the entire body of work, as well as not placing the work within the time period in which is was made and then holding it up for discussion on the value of the images is a ridiculous and useless exercise. The same can be said for almost every photographer, even the one that the orogional poster holds dear. Ms. von Unwerth. When his work first began to appear (late 60's) stop and think of what else was being seen and shown at that time, not just in photography but in all the arts. As well what was going on within the society as a whole. The cynical approach that if you do enough promotion, etc. the work will get noticed seems to be a rather continuing attitude of some (this is a reflection of these times) where its all about the fame and the dollar and getting noticed. What Friedlander's work did at the very least was to introduce a new and personal way of using the medium that had not been seen (or for that matter) thought of up til that time. Persdonally I still find his earliest work the most visually exciting for waht it did for freeing photographic vision from the established standards of the time. His work requires work when viewing it which is something I enjoy. Unlike Ms. von Unwerth's work which is produced to maintain as much impact as possable to sell whatever the produce is. One approach is no better or less valid than the other, they both have their place. And as I use to tell students when introducing Friedlander to them for the first time - it does not matter if you like his work, that does not change it's impact on the medium which has and continues to be significent.
     
  96. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Hats not unbleached and not hats. In three years I can not wear a hat. I could not. Was. Will there be hats then since I was not and not Harvard then. Where the best of thought Father said clings like dead ivy vines upon old dead brick. Not Harvard then. Not to me, anyway. Again. Sadder than was. Again. Saddest of all. Again.
    That reads pretty poorly, doesn't it? The sentences too short and there are sentence fragments; language is confused; bad grammar is everywhere; the meaning is totally undecipherable, it doesn't make any sense.
    It's also isolated from any context despite being a whole paragraph; there isn't any environment that would put it in context and give any sense that it was written by anyone other than a young child struggling to say something.
    William Faulkner...
     
  97. Sorry, Jeff, I don't see your point. Are you pointing out that this chap Faulkner writes things you don't like? I certainly agree that it sounds like rubbish to me but perhaps other people like it.
     
  98. I like Lee Friedlander's work a lot. Have you seen his recent book of photographs of stalks in the bottom of flower vases? Beautiful. Did you know that some of the great Atlantic Record album covers from the sixties were done by Friedlander as part of his commerical work? Talentless? To create this polarity of Genius vs Talentless, besides being pretty stupid, is also mean spirited and as far as I'm concerned betrays a lack of respect for anyone's artistic efforts, including your own or those of the people you admire. Sure, it's ok not to like Friedlander's work, but unless you can present just what absolute defines genius, good photography, talentlessness, and so forth, you'll just have to accept that Lee is following his muse, and it might not be yours. The net is great for all of us to spout our wisdom, whether we've earned any credentials or not. Pontificating from the safety of your keyboard, you look for allies to support your rant. I've done it too. But you're talking about Lee Friedlander, who I reckon can pretty well do whatever the f* he wants, and doesn't give a rat's ass what anybody thinks. It's like the story about Miles Davis attending a White House function, sitting next to a white socialite who turns to him, a bit nonplussed, and says, "oh, and what do YOU do?" He says, "well, I've changed the course of twentieth century music 3 or 4 times. What the f* have you ever done?" Friedlander is one of those photographers who has help change the way we see, and what we bother to take the time to see. He's right up there with HCB, Walker Evans, Kertez, and the other greats. IMO without Lee Friedlander, there'd be no William Eggleston and that would really suck.
     
  99. "To create this polarity of Genius vs Talentless, besides being pretty stupid, is also mean spirited and as far as I'm concerned betrays a lack of respect for anyone's artistic efforts, including your own or those of the people you admire." So far, your respect comment was doing fine. ""What the f* have you ever done?"" But ya flamed out with this quote.
     
  100. "...But ya flamed out with this quote." Oh darn. Does that mean I don't win the convertible?
     
  101. "Without Friedlander there would be no William Eggleston..." And without Atget there would be no Friedlander. Anyway, I too find Friedlander a very special photographer.
     
  102. "The net is great for all of us to spout our wisdom, whether we've earned any credentials or not." I'm intrigued by this statement. Are you saying that only people with a certificate of some sort should be permitted to comment? If so, what form does this certificate take and where can it be obtained?
     
  103. "If so, what form does this certificate take..." Vapor of course. "and where can it be obtained?" From Photo.net:)
     
  104. "Are you saying that only people with a certificate of some sort should be permitted to comment?" More nonsense, of course. However, I don't understand why arguments ultimately based on "I can't see it so it must not exist" are taken seriously either. To do so is like arguing with a two-year-old kid about the taste of Scotch or olives.
     
  105. "To do so is like arguing with a two-year-old kid about the taste of Scotch or olives." But doesn't the two-year-old have a perfect right to dislike the taste of Scotch or olives? If not, at what age does one gain the right to dislike something?
     
  106. "But doesn't the two-year-old have a perfect right to dislike the taste of Scotch or olives? If not, at what age does one gain the right to dislike something?" A two-year-old might not like the taste of scotch or olives, but would they be able to tell the difference between a a cheap American Whisky and a single malt scotch? Between an Atalanta or a Gaeta olive? I'll never forget years ago I was at one of my old haunts, and two kids hardly old enough to drink came in and asked the bartender Huey for a couple of shots of "JD" (Jack Daniels). The bartender (who was more than a little bit hard of hearing) went over to pour their drinks...and I heard him saying to himself "J&B, J&B. Two shots of J&B". When he brought the drinks back to the lads, they downed their shots, and said to each other "nothing like a shot of Jack". They really couldn't tell the difference without looking at the label.
     
  107. I guess I'm just too old then. On my wedding day, I ordered a CC & 7. The waiter brought me my drink, I tasted it and said the bartender miss poured as it wasn't CC&7. Well he checked with the bartender and brought be back a correct drink with the correct pour. I explained to the waiter that there was both a color difference between the two and the Seagrams had more of an oak flavor as they toast their barrels more than Canadian Club does to give it more of an oaky flavor which I didn't like as I preferred the cleaner flavor of the CC. The waiter said the bartender sends his compliments. I still had to pay for the drink:)
     
  108. "But doesn't the two-year-old have a perfect right to dislike the taste of Scotch or olives? Sure. And I didn't waste my time trying to convince them otherwise. I also didn't stop liking Scotch or olives. "If not, at what age does one gain the right to dislike something?" IMO, age isn't relevant, nor are "credentials". You're entitled to dislike Scotch and olives from birth to death. It matters not at all to me. When it comes to modifying *my* opinion of something, what's important is the pointing out of factors I might have missed before or interpreted differently, and I couldn't possibly care less where the knowledge of those factors came from. In other words, give me something observable to *me* to back up your likes or dislikes. Telling me "I don't see it" or "Any kid could do it" or "Wow! We fooled an alleged expert" is instantly dismissable. I don't hear high audio frequencies. Should anyone at all familiar with music take seriously my loud and repeated complaints about the value of the piccolo to an orchestra? Would it help to play the pieces over and over? The only sensible response would be to say "You're deaf" and walk away.
     
  109. "The only sensible response would be to say "You're deaf" and walk away." Wouldn't you say that was offensive? Are you saying that someone should have the right to be offensive to anyone who just doesn't like what they like?
     
  110. It's no more offensive than: "My teacher, to my great horror, is a huge fan of piccolos. Now I don't hear piccolos at ALL! Are they great instruments of a level so high that I simply do not comprehend, or is this a case of the Emperor's new Ears where no one is willing to admit how silently they play? a typical piccolo solo erm..yeah..or" Look familiar?
     
  111. "Look familiar?" So, are you saying that the person who doesn't hear the piccolo is analogous to the person who doesn't share your taste in photography? Is that not the same as saying that because someone doesn't share your tastes they're defective?
     
  112. Only in the case of people repeatedly playing the "Are you saying...? " gambit. Those people are indeed defective.
     
  113. Sam: Friedlander is well known as a photographer and you're not. That's the real issue. work at it for a while and see if you will become famous...I tried becoming a famous race car driver many years ago, thinking that I could drive better and faster than those who did. As you can see, I was highly unsuccesful in an extremely short period of time...:)
     
  114. mike dixon

    mike dixon Moderator

    Genius is as genius does?
     
  115. "Those people are indeed defective." So anyone who asks you questions is defective? Or is it you who's defective because you can't think of a valid answer?
     
  116. What Sam needs is a good photographic assignment from the teacher who knows nothing.
     
  117. Lee's photos are great. Lots of visual puns everywhere. To me his work is about photography to its very core. He constantly plays with composition and photographic "rules" and the juxtaposition of objects, line, or tone, creating subtle comedies. His work is a commentary on photography and society, exposing the sides of both that are usually ignored or go unseen, but have their own element of truth, nonetheless. Just as with Atget and Evans, Friedlander's way of photographic seeing has been influential on a grand scale, more so than most people realize.
     
  118. look at the work he did for Atlantic records if you need proof of his talent. Brillant portraits of musicians from many genres. also his street work is very good. some is very funny, some is very detached. his self portrait book remains the ONLY book of self portraits that I have ever seen that I actually like. Lee Friedlander is a good photographer...
     
  119. Answer: Genius
     
  120. I'm coming late to this, but I thought folks might be interested in the following story which ran in the Sunday New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/29/arts/design/29geft.html It addresses many of the issues that have come up on Friedlander's work, but it leaves little doubt that the Powers that Be consider his work to be stellar and unique.
     
  121. I can understand why some people may or may not consider certain people "geniuses." Today, the word is overly used and thrown about too freely and carelessly. Much like the word, "hero." I remember, as a child, seeing some of Picasso's work and thinking to myself, "Are they kidding me? This is the most amateuristic junk I've ever seen!" I honestly thought the guy was pulling off a hoax on the general public and maybe he WAS! Well, one day, I came across an article where they showed some of his work at the age of 14 and 15... whoa... I was totally blown away by his talent! STILL, I couldn't appreciate his "modern" work back then, and still can't today. (Hold it, I'm not saying that an artist should compete with a camera!!!) Well, I also know that I didn't like or believe much of what my Art History teachers said about some of the past "geniuses." I simply couldn't see what all the fuss was all about! I still have difficulty with the nonsense they wanted me to believe and so did many of the artists I've met throughout my life (er... no, NOT grafitti "artists"). One day, back in the mid-80s or so, I read in the Daily News how a curator was speaking to a group at a very prestigious museum here in NYC about a particular work on display... "Notice his use of color to portray... and notice his shadows... here, see how he demonstrates... [blah, blah, blah]" when a junior high school student blurted out, "Hey, mister, according to my school text, that picture's upside down!" Guess what? The kid was RIGHT! The picture had been upside down for a number of years, too; and no one had noticed, not even the highbrow curators with all their training! That taught me a lesson! (Can you figure out what that was?) I am reminded of the main character, Roark, in Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead," which also reminded me of the Emperor's New Clothes." But, I do know that a painting by the late actor Henry Fonda or the late actor Anthony Quinn (yes, both were superb painters) will sell more than any of my paintings.... THE NAME, yes, THE NAME on the canvas, that's the secret. How much something costs depends on what people will pay; and how much someone's work is considered "genius" or "masterful" depends on what the highbrow, affuent consider... what a shame, no? I am reminded of "The Fountainhead." The work of past photographers is revered because of the fact that they were pioneers, I suspect. Yes, and they did these works with the most crude camera gear, as compared with any number of today's cameras! They also set many standards we take for granted today. AND, they left us with a history! Genius? I dunno...
     
  122. wow.. this thread is pathetic and sad. full of misunderstanding and misconceptions and people just being flat out super-jaded in trying to prove some stupid point. here's a fact, and well known one at that and its needless to say. there will always be differences in likes and dislikes. i actually didn't like Friedlander at first and when i picked up the Times and read the article i thought it was stupid how they were completely overanalyzing his work. but of course, like i'm sure this has happened in your life and any one else life, it started to grow on me. then I actually went to the MoMA and saw the exhibit. my outlook on Lee took a complete turn around. all of sudden i saw what was so great about his work. you see. that's the goddamn problem, people expect a *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* miraculousness to every *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* thing that they see. lee's photos, as i saw them and as i told my girlfriend, is essentially, to me, the enigma and of everyday life and people hidden behind the mask of normalcy. and thats why you *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* hate it, and don't understand it. The pretty girl has her mask and you're dying to see her face. Please, go see his exhibit. and its not "like those "modern artists" who paint a square and call it art". definitely not, and i'll give you the benefit of the doubt, because, yeah, sure, it's very easy to think that, as i did, before i went to the exhibit. like.. god. there's this one photo, where it's basically a shot of a window and a plant pot. and the windowpanes shadow is cast on the white wall at an angle. and to the left side of the photograph is a black line going straight down the center and a doorknob in the midframe. the way he shot that door, you have no idea where it's coming from. or how it bends, whether its going in or out. if you don't like friedlander, look at that shot and if you still feel the same.. then i don't know. theres nothing normal or overrated about that shot and a bunch of other shots like that. and yes.. i recall reading a good point about how 'when friedlander shoots, people think its amazing, but if someone else shot it, people wouldn't think so much." i've thought the same about music, about a certain band or song by that certain band that mainstreamers go crazy over... it's a mystery really but the artist is not to be blamed. never are they to be blame. there's just something wrong with the people. so DON'T put Friedlander down because of that. another that's amazing but the deathknell of it all, photography that is, is that with the whole realm of digital photography and technological advances, EVERYONE THINKS THEY'RE A *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* PHOTOGRAPHER AND THINK THEY CAN DO EVERYTHING and actually have the audacity to critcize photographers like Friedlander for all the wrong reasons. it's stupid and it's bullshit. whatever the *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#*. -mg
     
  123. Hm!! I love your style, Marvin. You da man.
     
  124. Jason Neuswanger , mar 06, 2005; 04:17 p.m. "Ugh, I don't like that Friedlander stuff at all. It seems kind of like those "modern artists" who paint a square and call it art. I see that as a pretentious obsession with sophistication--people think it's genius to create something so crappy that only someone equally "refined" will see how brilliant it is. Brilliant people don't concern themselves with being avant garde. They have their priorities straight. For photographers, that means focusing on creating works that please the eyes and communicate a mood. It's hard to do that really well. It takes talent. Perfecting the craft means rising above the rest in one's ability to perform it, not just wandering off into crazyland where nobody else has gone and for good reason. A scientist would not get respect for promoting a deliberately idiotic hypothesis. A football player would not get respect for defying the trends and trying not to score any touchdowns. A police officer would not get respect for deliberately letting criminals go. Yet if an artist or photographer decides to such a ridiculously bad job, there's always a little crowd of people anxious to say "wow... it's great!" and play like they're the only ones who get it. I've attached an image (public domain) that an art professor told me is a profound study in decay. I disagree, and I dare say he made that up on the spot because it sounded good. Anyone care to explain what's so sophisticated about this stupid picture of a spoon?" oh come onnnn. friedlander is like that if you let it be. it's not THAT pointless. there ARE points to his photographs. and besides, don't lie to yourself and come off like you've NEVER liked a photograph like the spoon. if there was a shot of a spoon on a street, shot from whatever angle or whatever the hell is your favorite style, i'm sure you'd like it. not EVERYTHING has to have a point. YES, i agree with you, i don't like drawn squares and people saying "wow.. that's incredible" but friedlander is not like that. thats all my girlfriend and i were talking about yesterday when looking at threadful simple art.. i mean SIMPLE. that i can draw. seriously "A LINE".. you can't compare that to Friedlander. I mean.. it was *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#*. and don't get me wrong, i'm not against you. i'm like you, i don't like that overratedness when it comes to art. but take a strangers word for it. friedlander IS NOT LIKE THAT. besides, and this goes for the people that think they can shoot like him and "Ohhh... why aren't I famous???!!", his work is so great cause he shot it back when the whole *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* world couldn't be a photographer (hint: DIGITAL) you actually had to learn it and and be it and live it. Pick up Friedlanders book "Self-Portrait" There are some really great and clever photographs in there. whatever.. just give it time, maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't. you being everyone that posted here that doesn't like his work. -mg
     
  125. "The work of past photographers is revered because of the fact that they were pioneers, I suspect." exactly my point, Calico. and no, you don't suspect. you know. as do i.
     
  126. thank you bee flowers. soviet cinema looks wonderful. american cinema should look like that.
     
  127. Yeah, it looks pretty nice, but those seats are fantastically uncomfortable; you really don't want those!
     
  128. seriously sam.. you've picked a terrible photos of his, one his most mediocre ones, and one that i'm not even too fond of. have you even seen his works? have look at more than whatever the hells on masters of photography? watch this video. http://www.hasselbladfoundation.org/prize_video_2005_en.html maybe you might change your mind. why is it so important (why am i making a big deal out of it?) for you to watch it? because i don't hate you and i truly think you'd like his work if you didn't take yourself or photography so seriously... all the time. (THIS GOES FOR EVERYONE WHO IS OPPOSED TO FRIEDLANDER)
     
  129. http://www.hasselbladfoundation.org/prize_video_2005_en.html a terrible photo* have you looked at*
     
  130. Jason Neuswanger , mar 06, 2005; 10:32 p.m. It isn't about being "comprehended." I'd bet money that if you took ten pretentious, avant garde photographers and gave them a series of a dozen Friedlander photos they'd never seen before to interpret, every photographer would come up with a completely different interpretation of every photo. And not in a good, deliberate way, but in a pointless, ambiguous way. Also, I bet that if in those dozen Friedlanders you mixed in a few that were instead taken by a 4 year old with the same equipment, not one of the artsy stuck-ups would suspect the switch, and they wouldn't miss a beat in offering some long-winded interpretation of the deeper meaning of an out of focus shot of a happy meal. wow.. jason.. it IS about comprehension. YOUR own comprehesion. of course there are going to be different analyzations. there is in every form of art (obviously. no point in stating that.) friedlander had his own idea when he shot whatever shot. but the audience might seem something he didn't and that, within itself, though not Friedlanders idea, is in fact a comprehesion and valid analyzation. ultimately, it is whatever you want it to be. his abstract photographs, by extension should activate somewhere in the viewers viewing, forcing them to make sense of the photograph themselves.hopefully nudging the viewer out of passivity and leave the photographs a little incomplete until really looked at.
     
  131. There following messages are all the posts that i think do the greatest justice at explaining why Friedlander shouldn't be considered a nobody. One of the main points I've come across is that people like you Sam, and this is the truth, judge Friedlander as if all of his images were produced in the last five years or something. This guy has been shooting pictures since before you were goddamn born. That's the fashion in which you judge his work. And the stupidest, most infuriating thing I've ever seen. thus... Bert Krages , mar 05, 2005; 01:57 p.m. I don't think the images above are a good representation of Frielander's work. Most of the published work of his that I have seen fits within the street photography genre and is very competent. In my opinion, his photographs tend to be on the edgy side (in the vein of Robert Frank but with a sort of quirky balance). He also has a group of photographs that portray spindly looking trees in urban and suburban settings. These images are more of an acquired taste, but are intellectually interesting compositions if you view them as compositions of linear elements. No photographer can produce work that is going to appeal to every one. Some photographers deal with this by trying to produce work that is always conventional. In extreme cases, they won't make or keep images that run against the rules of compositions (e.g., rule of thirds, rule against mergers). Some photographers don?t feel the need to seek universal acclaim and produce work that is more vulnerable to criticism. As an educator, Lee Frielander has been experimental from a positive perspective and warrants respect for his work in this area. Phylo Dayrin , mar 06, 2005; 09:50 a.m. Why is it that some think that a good, valid photograph should be perfectly clean composed and made with all the 'rules of photography' in mind? What Lee Friedlander photographs tell me is that he knew exactly what he was doing and why he was doing it. Jeff (www.spirer.com) Photo.net Hero Photo.net Patron, mar 06, 2005; 06:47 p.m. Sam, rather than this being even vaguely a discussion, you have decided to ignore what anyone says and just rant on. Not much point to it anymore. Mike Dixon Photo.net Hero, mar 06, 2005; 10:42 p.m. Which is more pretentious: coming up with varied interpretations of a photographers work (and I'll grant you there's plenty of room for pretense there), or arrogantly proclaiming (re photogaphy's primary goal), "For photographers, that means focusing on creating works that please the eyes and communicate a mood." At least in the former case, they're not ignoring 150 years of photographic history. (great point Mike Dixon. as if they know everything about photography and what makes a valid photograph. its all subjective. seriously get over yourself. nobody's interesting in your bullshit.)
     
  132. Mike Dixon Photo.net Hero, mar 07, 2005; 01:28 a.m. Not sure what the point of such a puerile game would be. If it doesn't meet your criteria, you'd simply insist it's not really an artistic photograph (even if, like the work of Friedlander, Eggleston, Winogrand, etc. it is recognized as art by museums, history books, and millions of people who do appreciate its merits). Why not cut out the (pretentious?) verbiage, and go directly to the heart of the game: Is too! Is not! Is too! Is not! Is too!! Is not!! IS TOO!!! IS NOT!!!!! . . . Thomas Gardner , mar 07, 2005; 11:32 a.m. "Looking at Friedlander's work gives me pleasure, because his photos are clever and witty." If you might expand on the above point. I see clever and witty in Winogrand but not in Friedlander. (LOOK CLOSER) Thomas Gardner , mar 08, 2005; 09:00 a.m. "Hard to know what you're on about Thomas." Just trying to point out that Lee is more structured in his efforts then some realize and the more you explore his product, you come to realize he's not as chaotic as some of his images might leave one to believe. (i'm surprised you're the same person that posted whats above, but yes, good point. seriously.. how can you not love Wisconsin, 2000, its a awesome photograph. here at: http://www.fraenkelgallery.com/exhibitions/e_friedlander2004.html ) steve swinehart , mar 08, 2005; 11:51 a.m. I would suggest that you take more time to view more of his work. The links posted by Thomas Gardner show a greater image diversity than the photos you have chosen. His work in the '60's was important in that he was breaking stereotypes of what images "should" look like. This opened up a whole new aesthetic as to what a photo could be instead of what it should be. Freidlander's photos have given several generations of photographers the freedom to compose photos any way they want and especially without rules. Do I like his photos? Yes, some of them I find very complex and well seen. Do I like all of his photos? No. But then, I can't think of one photographer that I can say I unequivocally like every single photo. Look more carefully at his work (and more of it). Try and find one or two photos you like, and then carefully examine them and ask yourself why you like it. That's always the first step in learning to appreciate something new. (AMAZING point Steve. you embody everything i think in that post.)
     
  133. "(LOOK CLOSER)" Nope! Didn't help. But that Winnogrand:)
     
  134. To remove any confusion I might have accidently introduced; Winnogrand wasn't the author of the shot I posted as it's on of mine. The point of the posted shot, Friedlander's image leave me empty. Tain't no thang that they do, they're just not for me but it's not gonna stop me from going out and doing my own thing. If someone want's to get all woop-de-doo about his efforts, cool as I'm right there with you but it don't mean that I concur with your opinion even if Lee does have Szarkowski's seal of approval.
     
  135. Look even closerrr. kidding. no but seriously that one self-portrait shot of lee's headshadow blended in perfectly with the rows of black bulbous domes on the floor. c'mon. that's clever. give me the benefit of the doubt here. nice shot, btw.
     
  136. wow.. thomas. i resent the fact that you feel that you had to point that out. your point is clear.
     
  137. confusion?.. wow thomas..*
     
  138. "wow.. thomas. i resent the fact that you feel that you had to point that out." I just didn't want anybody coming back and stating, for the record,... "Hey!" "That's not a Friedlander shot!" :) The comment was made in the spirit of clarification and tring to prevent any confusion as context gets lost real easy around here:) My apologies if the comment was taken in a bad way. "nice shot, btw." Thanks! :)
     
  139. i also dig the "Stairway on First Street" shot.. i really like that one. the angle. what lens did you shoot that with?
     
  140. Thanks! :) 14/2.8 Tamron, tripod mounted, MLU, timer release. You might be right about the effect jading has on one's thinking and how they might respond to Friedlander's images.
     
  141. I almost feel the same way as Sam Chua. However, looking at his, I learned a few new things, like who is that person in the photo that looks as if a soccermom took it (she's a writer). I suppose Friedlander, by his photographs, is saying something about his subjects. Check out his self portrait - Mirror of Myself, 1965 - a photo of his reflection in a mirror taken with a Leica. It's the photo that always comes to my mind when I see an old Leica. Artists come in different flavours...
     
  142. Interesting!
     
  143. I really enjoy Friedlanders work, I partculary love Albuquerque 1972, as it encourages us to construct a menaing, or at least try to forge on from the bizarre almost connecting elements within it. That dog is pretty funny too, what is it doing? I also like the way his pictures seem to be like collages, and layered and more interesting the more you look. I hope one day to make images as great as these ones, or at least somewhere close. I enjoyed reading your discussions but its frustrating, as some people will never be able to see past the simple formal aesthetic qualities of an image, I used to think that pictures just had to be pleasing to the eye, now I understand they can conatin all sorts of things. Friedlanders seem to be ambiguous, purposefully, I dont think these are snapshots, but I dont think they have a clear meaning either, the good bit it the idea that he can make us try to find one, its like hes revealing that they can reveal, its all about the critical process we go through when looking. I also like that they are witty and sometimes ironic. which book can I find albequerque 1972 in? I also like Route 9W New York but cant find the book for this one either. any help? cxxx
     
  144. this seems more like an argument between fine art and commercial photography. I dont think you can say a photographer is *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* just because you dont appreciate it. All types of photography seems to be important, right down to simple passport photos. I believe everyone here is here because they do not wish to be ignorant to the history of photogrpahy, and its many facets, Its alot bigger than I thought it was when I first started taking photogrphs, and it just keeps growing. Is there no end to the power of a photograph? Its strength repeatedly shocks me.
     
  145. Who cares? Anyone confident in their views does not need to explain them in this "vs" method
     
  146. At this late date I'd like to add that the reason so many have trouble with Friedlander is that he has created what amounts to a completely new and original visual language that takes some study before it can be understood. His work demonstrates an entirely new and profound syntax of images and formal considerations that show us things and ways of seeing that we have not experienced before, pictures that essentially reorder our visual universe. Yes, he really is a genius.
     

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