This was for a visual research project in my digital photography class. After selecting a photographer, we had to research him or her then emulate the style of the photographer with our own photos. When I discovered Lee Friedlander, I was sold. He can take the ordinary and make it extraordinary!
This was a fun project for me. All the times I thought I was making mistakes, a famous photographer was making art out of it! Granted, I was making mistakes, but Friedlander gave me a lot of hope and inspiration that I could improve my craft.
The majority of my photos are digital that were brought into Photoshop to try to make them look like black and white film. That is very hard, if not impossible, to replicate. I was also taking a black and white film photography class from the same instructor and she let me use some of those in this project. As for cameras, I used an Olympus VR-320 and a Chinon 35mm with Arista EDU 400 ISO film.
America by Car
This series is what caused me to fall in love with Friedlander’s work. How many times have you taken a picture out of your car window and caught the car in the frame? He didn’t see it as a mistake; he worked with it. I love that he tied his series to the road trip, because I think the road trip is an innocent and unique part of American history. It makes me think of Route 66 and the 50’s and 60’s when the automobile was still relatively new.
I had spent several years commuting between Muskegon and Grand Rapids (120 miles a day at one point) and while it’s boring, there is a certain beauty to the highway.
I’ve always been fascinated by what you can catch in your vehicle’s mirrors. You can see the past, present, and future all at the same time.
This is one of the few film pieces. It was pure serendipity I caught the car in the mirror. Perhaps what is more amazing is that it was probably going around 55 mph.
The Little Screens
My first reaction to Friedlander’s series was that it was haunting and creepy. An article in my research pointed out something I never thought of. TV’s were still sort of new in the early 60’s. I’m sure they were alien for their time and I think that adds to the haunting quality of them.
This was another serendipitous shot. I turned on the TV to take a picture of it and I captured this woman on the Price is Right. Her appearance was so perfect for the theme.
I expanded my Little Screens to include my laptop, as we are now truly attached to our “little screens”.
My tribute to the movie Poltergeist.
Living in an era of the selfie-obsessed, I am intrigued by Friedlander’s self-portraits. Even though he has access to the same technology as every teenager in the world, he doesn’t have the bad camera-phone-in-the-mirror-with-duck-lips shot. He’s creative in the use of his own image; He doesn’t always stage them. He manages to capture himself in the same kind of mundaneness and simplicity he captures his other subjects.
Friedlander looks pretty rough in some of his selfies. My photo was inspired by the look he had in Philadephia PA (he’s sitting shirtless in a chair) and Philadephia (he’s in front of a mirror with his camera). I was a little concerned about taking a shirtless photo of myself (and using it in a class project on top of it!), but I like how it came out.
I never thought about using shadows as a subject. I was doing the shoot on Easter when I found a cross marking a pet’s grave. It seemed apropos.
This is one of my first shadow selfies. It was just fun to try!
I didn’t do much research into Friedlander’s signs series, but the fact he could take something as mundane as a sign and make it interesting intrigued me. Of course I had to try!
This is the backside of the sign I would use to find my house at night. Exciting, eh?
This is one of my favorite photos. The mailboxes are a little more prominent than the road signs, but I love it anyway.
I have no idea why there’s a stop sign, never mind a shortened stop sign, by this power pole out in the middle of the woods. But it’s very interesting!