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Recent Western Landscapes 2008-2009

Recent Western Landscapes 2008-2009 by Lee Friedlander
For the last few years, many of Lee Friedlander’s books have been beautifully and creatively packaged, containing and controlling Friedlander’s seemingly chaotic aesthetic. As fans (and non-fans) may agree, his images appear lawless, but they are cleverly framed images within images, pictures within pictures. This newest book by Lee Friedlander is no different. He switches his lens to another subject—the western landscape—but these images are compositionally very similar to his cityscapes, self-portraits and even his The Little Screens series (likely even more so as there is a literal frame around the TV screen). Yet the repetition isn’t monotonous. Unlike many photographers who I tire of because their style or subject does not vary much, I am always excited to see a new Lee Friedlander book because of their high standard of production and small surprises contained within each image, what the essayist in this book, Klaus Kertess, calls Friedlander’s uncanningly adept ability reveal “his subject by veiling it.”

From Recent Western Landscapes 2008-2009
Designed by Katy Homans with separations by Thomas Palmer and printing by Meridian Printing—all of whom contributed in the same roles to his previous books Stems and America by CarRecent Western Landscapes 2008-2009 is of the same high quality, but the unique treatment of this object, incorporating appropriate colors and elements that fit within the western theme, is outstanding. The grayish tone and the tactile nature of the cover bring to mind the rough sand of the Mojave, the green of the foil-stamped text is sampled from the pinon and juniper which dot the New Mexico landscape and the sage endpapers bring to mind the brush that is the color’s namesake.

From Recent Western Landscapes 2008-2009
 The mystique of the west is still a theme in American art and culture and it is this enduring perception of wildness that Friedlander captures. He photographed in Santa Fe, NM, the Tetons, the Mojave, and Yosemite. Turn the camera and you might see tourists, campgrounds, lodges, or even his shooting companion, but Friedlander allows us to experience the Old West, the feeling of isolation, adventure and exploration, the contrast in many of the images illustrating the hot sun of noon in the desert. The design presents a pristine package which cleverly confines the rough wild tumult of the American West, and with it the photographs of Lee Friedlander.

Due elsewhere in March 2011, the new Lee Friedlander book is in stock at photo-eye. Purchase a copy of the book here.