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Lee Friedlander
New York City, 1963

Since the 1960s Friedlander has been a keen observer of the American social and cultural landscape. His photographs draw on a rich heritage that includes the socially engaged documentary work of the 1930s and the more spontaneous street photography of the postwar era.

Though they may appear casual, Friedlander’s photographs are complex constructions that exploit spatial ambiguities to create witty juxtapositions and pictures within pictures. Like Eugène Atget, whose work he admired, Friedlander photographed reflections in store windows, often capturing conjunctions of inside and outside. He deliberately enacted many of the common mistakes of amateur photographers, aligning his subjects with poles, for instance, or “accidentally” recording his shadow in a series of self-portraits.

Coolly neutral and slyly humorous, Friedlander’s pictures refrain from making overt social statements. Instead, they remain detached and ambiguous, questioning the idea of the photograph as an inherently truthful document.

Artwork Info

Artwork title
New York City
Artist name
Lee Friedlander
Date created
1963
Classification
photograph
Medium
gelatin silver print
Dimensions
6 7/16 × 9 5/8 in. (16.4 × 24.4 cm)
Credit
Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust
Copyright
© Lee Friedlander
Permanent URL
https://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/ST1998.0172
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Other Works by Lee Friedlander

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