Inspiring Black and White Photography: Lee Friedlander

Photographers that Inspire Me

Inspiring Black and White Photography: Lee Friedlander

Black and white photographer Lee Friedlander has been photographing the American social landscape in his own unique visual style for 70 years

Lee Friedlander, born on July 14, 1934, is an American black and white photographer. He began photographing the American “social landscape”, a term he coined, since 1948.

Friedlander often displays a remarkable ability to organize a chaos of seemingly mundane details into effective compositions within the frame of a photograph. He appreciates and utilizes the camera’s ability to record absolutely everything within the frame, no matter how inconsequential or minute. The details that we miss that the camera will record as dutifully and democratically as the main subject. He has a penchant for including various “street furniture” (street signs, phone booths, chain link fences, etc), and fragmented reflections in windows and other surfaces, in his compositions, often loading his frames with as much detail as it can comfortably hold. He’ll also often include himself in his photos, either through direct self-portrait, or by including his reflection or shadow within the frame.

Although much of his work can seem to some to be haphazard ‘snapshots’, a closer look will reveal an eye very sensitive to formal beauty.

A truly creative artist, Friedlander is inspiring because he has brought his own unique vision to his photography, making photographs that are informed by his sensitive vision, his humour and intelligence, and his lack of pretension. I’ve been both inspired and influenced in my own photography by Friedlander’s photographs themselves, but also by his vision and originality.

— September 2017

Some photographs by Lee Friedlander

Learn more about Lee Friedlander

ASX – Lee Friedlander: Photography and the Aesthetics of Abstract Painting
Fraenkel Gallery

Read about more inspiring artists here.