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Issue Date: March 2009


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Ilana Yergin
Lee Friedlander’s idea of interesting photography may be unconventional — cropping off people’s heads, for example. But the unique quality of his work comes from embracing techniques others would avoid. Born in Aberdeen, Wash., Friedlander has his own way of observing the world, resulting in a large and extraordinary body of work that has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Beginning March 1, the Cleveland Museum of Art will feature 350 of his photographs during itsFriedlanderexhibit. “He has this inquisitive eye that just devours imagery,” says curator Tom Hinson. “This is Friedlander — taking the ordinary and making it special.”
Lake louise, canada, 2000 Lake Louise, Canada, 2000
Why it’s Friedlander:
Beginning in the early 1990s, Friedlander experimented with a medium-format camera (as opposed to a standard 35mm), giving his pictures more depth and detail. “That allows him to tackle a theme that he hadn’t really done before,” says Hinson, “which was the Western landscape for both Canada and particularly America.”
New orleans, louisiana, 1968
New Orleans, Louisiana, 1968
Why it’s Friedlander: Friedlander has played with the idea of inserting himself into his photographs for decades, whether through self-portraits, reflections or shadows. As his style develops, it is “as if his shadow and reflection becomes this alter ego that really has a mind of its own,” says Hinson.
Father_Duffy new york Father Duffy, Times Square, New York City, 1974
Why it’s Friedlander:
As a young photographer, Friedlander was able to find plenty of freelance work that enabled him to travel the country. “He just realizes that monuments in all shapes and forms are everywhere in this country,” says Hinson. “So he makes a huge project of photographing monuments.”

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