Lee Friedlander First Fifty Books: 1969-2018

Lee Friedlander First Fifty Books: 1969-2018

With a career spanning seven decades, renowned American photographer Lee Friedlander has produced an unrivaled photographic output documenting seemingly every aspect of the American “social landscape” (a term Friedlander coined), with a specific focus on creating books. “Books are my medium,” Friedlander has been quoted as saying.

Friedlander First Fifty provides an inside look at Friedlander’s first fifty books, featuring extensive commentary directly from Friedlander on his own work. The book contains photographs from each of the first fifty books, as well as descriptions, publication information, and most notably, interviews with Friedlander and his wife, Maria, conducted by Friedlander’s grandson, Giancarlo, and daughter, Anna, who together co-published the book. The result is the most personal and candid look at Friedlander’s life and career to date, as told to his own family.

Published over a fifty-year period, from 1969-2018, the first fifty books describe the entirety of subject matter — from jazz musicians to factory workers to monuments to television screens — and genres — from self-portraits to street photographs to nudes to landscapes — Friedlander has explored.

Containing the largest collection of Friedlander’s own quotes ever published, Friedlander First Fifty offers a behind-the-scenes look at the photographer’s diverse oeuvre that contextualizes and brings new life to the work, for everyone from the casual art appreciator to the most ardent Friedlander fan.

About the Author

Lee Friedlander, born in 1934, began photographing the American social landscape in 1948. With an ability to organize a vast amount of visual information in dynamic compositions, Friedlander has made humorous and poignant images among the chaos of city life, dense natural landscape, and countless other subjects. Friedlander is also recognized for a group of self-portraits he began in the 1960s, reproduced in Self Portrait, an exploration that he turned to again in the late 1990s, and published in a monograph by Fraenkel Gallery in 2000.

A self-portrait of Lee Friedlander

Included among the many monographs designed and published by Friedlander himself are Sticks and Stones, Lee Friedlander: Photographs, Letters From the People, Apples and Olives, Cherry Blossom Time in Japan, Family, and At Work. Starting in 2017, the artist and Yale University Press released an ambitious six-book suite collectively titled The Human Clay – a sweeping collection street and environmental portraits culled and edited by Friedlander from his extensive archive, many not previously published.

Friedlander’s work was included in the highly influential 1967 New Documents exhibition, curated by John Szarkowski at the Museum of Modern Art. In 2005, Friedlander was the recipient of the prestigious Hasselblad Award as well as the subject of a major traveling retrospective and catalog organized by the Museum of Modern Art. In 2010, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York exhibited the entirety of his body of work, America by Car. In 2017, Yale University Art Gallery exhibited and published some of his earliest work, 1957 photographs of participants of the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in Washington, D.C. His work is held by major collections including Art Institute of Chicago; George Eastman Museum; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art; The National Gallery of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art, among many others.

Friedlander First 50
Lee Friedlander
Introduction by Giancarlo T. Roma
Published by powerHouse Books

Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: powerHouse Books (October 15, 2019)
Language: English
Size: 9.3 x 1 x 8.8 inches
Weight: 2 pounds
ISBN-13: 978-1576879528
ISBN-10: 1576879526

Lee Friedlander, born in 1934, began photographing the American social landscape in 1948. With an ability to organize a vast amount of visual information in dynamic compositions, Friedlander has made humorous and poignant images among the chaos of city life, dense natural landscape, and countless other subjects. Friedlander is also recognized for a group of self-portraits he began in the 1960s, reproduced in Self Portrait, an exploration that he turned to again in the late 1990s, and published in a monograph by Fraenkel Gallery in 2000. Friedlander’s work was included in the highly influential 1967 New Documents exhibition, curated by John Szarkowski at the MoMA, NY. In 2005, Friedlander was the recipient of the prestigious Hasselblad Award as well as the subject of a major traveling retrospective and catalog organized by the Museum of Modern Art. His work is held by major collections including Art Institute of Chicago;, George Eastman Museum; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art; The National Gallery of Art; San Francisco Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art, among many others.

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