Sunday, October 4, 2020

Lee Friedlander Photographs William Christenberry

 I have long been a serious admirer of Lee Friedlander and William Christenberry. Lee for his enduring, unique vision and Bill for his significant contributions to Southern visual arts. Coincidentally the pair had been decades long friends which, in true Friedlander fashion, he unwaveringly documented. In reading more about their relationship I came across this portrait of Bill taken by Lee, which immediately struck me as a testament to Lee's status as a master portraitist.

The print has a contrast I would consider uncharacteristic of a Friedlander photo, likely attributed to the incoming beams of late afternoon light. Bill's frozen, pensive stare evokes the feeling of an action interrupted by a sudden realization. You can spot where Lee dodged Bill's hand and arm to emphasize his frozen posture.

I especially love the peaked highlights on Bill's forehead and cheeks — in parallel to the glowing orb of the lamp — intensified by the shadows of blinds.

Lee Friedlander, William Christenberry, c. 1990

I really enjoyed writing this little piece and really hope to do more like this in the future. I would like to get better at writing about photography and photos, especially so that I can write lengthier pieces. So far I feel like I have a lot of ideas but I can't quite put my finger on how to write about their impact, emotion, etc. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this one.

All the best,

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