2007 · New York City
Photographs of Frederick Law Olmstead's parks, including Central Park, commissioned by the Canadian Center for Architecture, with some of the photographs appearing in a 2008 exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
A natural chronicler of all things uniquely American, photographer Lee Friedlander here puts his lens to the work of Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), designer of many of this country's most iconic public landscapes and the father of North American landscape architecture. Olmsted was responsible for a staggering number of America's greatest parks, including the Niagara reservation (North America's oldest state park), Washington Park, the Biltmore Estate, the U.S. Capitol building landscape and entire parkway systems in Buffalo and Louisville. His most famous work remains New York City's Central Park, a pioneering egalitarian gesture that, at the time, was very unusual for its ready accessibility. This book, published to coincide with The Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2008 exhibition, titled Lee Friedlander:A Ramble in Olmstead Parks, compiles 89 photographs made by Friedlander in Olmsted's public parks and private estates. This stunning collection of rich tritones celebrates the complex, idiosyncratic picture-making of one of the country's greatest living photographers, and also arrives upon the 150 year anniversary of Olmsted's 1858 design for Central Park. Rambling across bridges and through open meadows and dense undergrowth, Friedlander locates a pure pleasure in Olmsted's designs--in the meticulous stonework, the balance of exposure to shade and in the mature, weather-beaten trees that attest to the durability of Olmsted's vision. Lee Friedlander's work is widely known for transforming our visual understanding of contemporary American culture. Known for passionately embracing all subject matter, Friedlander photographed nearly every facet of American life from the 1950s to the present. From factories in Pennsylvania, to the jazz scene in New Orleans, to the deserts of the Southwest, Friedlander's complex formal visual strategies continue to influence the way we understand, analyze, and experience modern American experience. Friedlander's work continues to influence photographic practice internationally, in part due to the heightened sense of self-awareness that is a trademark of so many of his photographs and in part because of his ability to embrace wide-ranging subject matter, always interpreting it in an elegance that hadn't existed prior to his work. (Inventory #: 39956)