Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"America by Car" - Photographs of Different American Landscapes by Lee Friedlander

Unlike other photographers, Lee Friedlander (b. 1934) was driving across most of the country's fifty states in an ordinary rental car and has focused on everyday Americana, creating expansive black and white images of the social landscape through his windscreen. The frame of the car window provides a constant in the photographs of vastly different American landscapes.

While some of Friedlander's photographs in America by Car depict timeless American landscapes others speak volumes about modern America. Friedlander plays with the contrast between the manmade textures and patterns inside the car and those found naturally in the wilderness. Reflections from the car's mirrors add to the complex composition of some of the photographs. Sometimes the lines, angles and reflections can be perplexing, in this case reflecting the chaos of the city.

Friedlander used a Hasselblad Super Wide camera for this project, which allowed him to capture a wider vista. It is often bisected by the vertical frame of the windscreen. The square format allows the interior of the car to be included in the shot, and the viewer gradually begins to see America from Friedlander's perspective.

Texas, 2006

Alaska, 2007

Arizona, 2007

California, 2008

Las Vegas, Nevada, 2007

Montana, 2008

Montana, 2008

Montana, 2008

(Photos by Lee Friedlander, courtesy Frankel Gallery, San Francisco; via The Guardian)

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