Lee Friedlander (born July 14, 1934) is an American photographer and artist. Friedlander studied photography at the Art Center College of Design located in Pasadena, California. In 1956, he moved to New York City where he photographed jazzmusicians for record covers. In 1960, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded Friedlander a grant to focus on his art and made subsequent grants in 1962 and 1977.
1960s and 70s: black and white social landscape
His early work was influenced by Eugène Atget, Robert Frank, and Walker Evans.
Working primarily with Leica 35mm cameras and black and white film, Friedlander evolved an influential and often imitated visual language of urban “social landscape,” with many of the photographs including fragments of store-front reflections, structures framed by fences, posters and street-signs.
He also experimented with use of his own shadow as an extra element in the image – giving many of them a more haunted eerie feel of an obvious onlooker to the scene.
In 1963, the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House mounted Friedlander’s first solo museum show. Friedlander was then a key figure in curator John Szarkowski‘s 1967 “New Documents” exhibition, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City along with Garry Winogrand and Diane Arbus. In 1973, his work was honored in Rencontres d’Arles festival (France) with the screening “Soirée américaine : Judy Dater, Jack Welpott, Jerry Uelsmann, Lee Friedlander” présentée par Jean-Claude Lemagny.
1980s – present
Friedlander now works primarily with medium format cameras (e.g. Hasselblad Superwide). While suffering from arthritis and housebound, he focused on photographing his surroundings. His book, Stems, reflects his life during the time of his knee replacement surgery. He has said that his “limbs” reminded him of plant stems. These images display textures which were not a feature of his earlier work. In this sense, the images are similar to those of Josef Sudek who also photographed the confines of his home and studio.
Some of his most famous photographs appeared in the September 1985 Playboy, black and white nude photographs of Madonna from the late 1970s. A student at the time, she was paid only $25 for her 1979 set. In 2009, one of the images fetched $37,500 at a Christie’s Art House auction.
In 1990, the MacArthur Foundation awarded Friedlander a MacArthur Fellowship.
He was awarded The Royal Photographic Society’s Special 150th Anniversary Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography in 2003. In 2005, the Museum of Modern Art presented a major retrospective of Friedlander’s career, including nearly 400 photographs from the 1950s to the present. In the same year he received a Hasselblad International Award. The retrospective exhibition was presented again in 2008 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).
All the images in the series are taken from the driver’s point of view, incorporating into the viewfinder all of the familiar architecture of the cockpit (dashboard, rear-view mirror, views from side windows and wing mirrors and so on). This claustrophobia presents an American landscape at odds with the car and its driver; the windscreen forms a barrier between the individual and the landscape beyond. The car can only take you so far into the wilderness. The vast majority of the images in Friedlander’s book were made after 2001, and several images hint towards the international concerns of the past decade and beyond. The road – or, rather, whatever passing motorists will notice – is where political voices are articulated in loud, upper case letters: “WE SUPPORT OUR TROOPS”, declares Little Millers diner in Alaska (p. 89). A campaign vehicle covered with pro-Obama stickers (p.104) is a prime example of using a vehicle as a legitimate extension of ideology and identity. [See Martin Parr’s From A to B (1994)].
Endless gas stations, a ubiquitous motif of the road trip narrative, inevitably contribute to the collection.
Concurrent to this retrospective, a more contemporary body of his work, America By Car, was displayed at the Fraenkel Gallery not far from SFMOMA. “America By Car” was on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City in late 2010.
The work of American reportage illustrator Franklin McMahon (1921–2012) is an excellent example of how drawing can be used to document courtroom dramas. The following drawings are taken from his 1955 visual documentation of the trial of two men accused of murdering a black Chicago teenager Emmett Till who was visiting relatives near Money, Mississippi.
Look at the drawings and reflect on how McMahon has approached the task of documenting a courtroom drama. How does his approach to drawing tie in with the notion of journalism and truth? What do you think he’s managed to capture in these drawings and how has he done it? Write a short statement summarising your reflections. You may want to annotate some of the drawings, highlighting particular areas of interest.
(William) Franklin McMahon (September 9, 1921 – March 3, 2012) was an artist-reporter whose work took him around the world for more than half a century. His seminal work at the birth of the civil rights movement, his coverage of U.S. presidential campaigns between 1960 and 2008, America’s role in the space race, the formation of the European council,Vatican II, and scores of other political, cultural, religious and sporting events; all were part of a Franklin McMahon “day at the office” for the last 55+ years…except that for him, his office was his studio, which is the world. In the words of Peter Lyleof The Sunday Telegraph of London:
“…his pencil and his pad have been witness to many of the most significant events in postwar American and world history.”
Other than in his very early years when he did illustrations “on spec”, he was not an “after-the-fact” illustrator. In his own words, drawing from life made him an “artist-reporter” or a “reportorial artist.” “That way,” he said, “you can see around the corner.”
After the war, he married high school sweetheart Irene Leahy and used the GI Bill to attend night classes at Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, American Academy of Art, Harrington College of Design, and the Art Institute of Chicago. They settled in Lake Forest, IL to raise their family, which eventually became nine children, several whom are now recognized artists. He thought that artists belonged out in the world. Studio work was confining, so he sought jobs which allowed him to travel. Eventually, Irene became a travel writer, and accompanied her husband on many of his journeys. Wherever his travels took him, home base was always the Chicago area. Over the years he owned downtown condos and three different homes in Lake Forest. For the last several years of his life, he lived at Sedgebrook, a retirement community in Lincolnshire IL just a few miles from Lake Forest.
McMahon’s overwhelming main artistic output was his 8,000-9,000 drawings.He also produced films and books. His films incorporate drawings (see Technique section), at a rate of 200–300 drawings per ½ hour of film. The books, although sometimes labelled as “illustrated” by Franklin McMahon, had the same kind of [“on site”] drawings as those from the courtroom, the political arena, and all his other spheres of activity. Even his commercial work had drawings mainly done on site, not after-the-fact illustrations for existing text.
McMahon’s work in both of these aspects of mid-20th Century American history helps illustrate his role as an artist-reporter. He began reporting from the courtroom in 1955, after some of his very early work came to the attention of Life magazine’s editors. Because cameras were not allowed at the Mississippi trial of the suspected killers of Chicago teenager Emmett Till, Life commissioned him to go there to sketch courtroom events. His drawings, and in particular, one of Till’s great-uncle, Moses Wright, standing to point at the accused men, were seen nationwide. From then on, on-site reporting with his drawings was a major part of his life work.
Moses Wright pointing at accused men; Emmett Till Trial, Sumner, Tallahatchie County Mississippi, 1955 published in Life Magazine;
Painting by Franklin McMahon
The Emmett Till trial in September 1955 was the early catalyst for the Civil Rights movement. McMahon’s on-site and on-deadline images from Mississippi, published nationwide in Life magazine, provided the visualization that helped spur Rosa Parks‘ refusal to give up her seat on the bus in December, 1955, which then led to theMontgomery Bus Boycott and to the involvement of a young and relatively unknown black minister named Martin Luther King, Jr., along with one of the other boycott leaders,Ralph Abernathy. McMahon was at Martin Luther King’s, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech during the 1963 March on Washington, on the National Mall. He also covered the two 1964 mistrials of the murderer of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. In March 1965, King’s march for black enfranchisement was going from Selma to the Alabama Capital Montgomery. About that time, Franklin was returning from NASA’s Cape Kennedy (in Florida) after covering one of the U. S.’s manned space launches. He heard of the march on his car radio, and took a detour, arriving in time to document King’s arrival in Montgomery. He also covered King in Chicago in 1966, the United Farm Workers protest in 1968, and the 1968 Chicago riots following King’s death.
In 1969-70, Franklin was courtroom artist at the infamous “conspiracy” trial of the eight (later just seven) defendants, resulting from protests during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. The 8th defendant, Bobby Seale, was eventually bound, shackled, and gagged, then separated from the group and sentenced for contempt of court by the judge. The trial lasted 5 months, with McMahon producing almost 500 courtroom drawings. They were published across the nation, including an entire issue of the Chicago Tribune’s Sunday magazine section. The Chicago History Museum currently owns both the collection of 483 drawings from that trial as well as that from the 1955 Emmett Till trial. Civil rights was a continuing interest and vocation: he covered the presidential campaigns of black candidates Shirley Chisholm, U.S. House (’72) and the Reverend Jesse Jackson (’84, ’88), and was at the 1995 Million Man March.
During the Space Race of the ’60s and ’70s, Franklin was to return frequently to NASA’s mission control, including his coverage of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon. All would earn him a mention in NASA’s book Eyewitness to Space.
He drew Democratic presidential candidate Governor Adlai Stevenson II (’52, ’56) at his Libertyville, IL home. One of McMahon’s drawings of Stevenson hangs in that home, which is now a state historical site and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. He covered every Democratic and Republican campaign from 1960 through 2008, including attending a vast majority of the conventions, He made first-person drawings of the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon Debates (the first broadcast on live television) and later of Kennedy’s funeral. During Richard Nixon‘s successful 1968 presidential run, Franklin also drew the “unelected White House guys” (H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and John N. Mitchell), that he correctly predicted would surround Nixon. His take on Nixon’s 1974 resignation showed the disgraced ex-president escaping in a helicopter. There are McMahon drawings from the 1973 Watergate hearings, of Senator John McCain’s “straight talk express” in New Hampshire in 2000, the stirring Barack Obama speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention, and on the 2004 presidential campaign trail with George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry.
He was in Rome on October 11, 1962 for Opening Day of the Second Vatican Council, and went on to chronicle that major event through 1965. His film The World of Vatican II covers the opening and closing of Vatican II; and is a literal “travelogue in drawings” of many countries where Catholicism was facing new challenges at that time; and how and by whom they were being met. He followed Papal journeys, Council activations, and ministries in the Church world through the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s, he was in Chicago and South Africa with the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Drawings he made in South Africa were published by Notre DameMagazine and accompanied an article by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in U.S. Catholic Magazine.
McMahon accompanied conductor Sir George Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on their first European tour in 1974. The whimsical title (Real Violins) of his film describing that trip refers to Chicago’s reputation as a city where gangsters once carried machine guns in violin cases. He worked for Sports Illustrated Magazine on assignments ranging from the 1959 American League champion baseball team Chicago White Sox and Goose Hunting in Cairo, IL to the Acapulco Yacht Race in Mexico.
McMahon also created artwork for corporations and businesses. A series of decorative plates which he designed with Chicago themes for Continental Illinois National Bank(1972–1982) were given out as premiums at that time. They have since become collectors items, and are still traded on eBay. He did other work for Continental, and also had commercial commissions for McDonald’s Corporation, International Harvester, Marshall Field & Company and Borg-Warner, among others. He had been heard to say that his work for Continental put several of his children through college.
With sketch pads in hand, Mr. McMahon covered momentous events in the civil rights struggle, spacecraft launchings, national political conventions and the Vatican, turning out line drawings for major magazines and newspapers. Many were later colored by watercolor or acrylic paints, and most rendered scenes in a heightened, energetic style. His goal, he said, was to step beyond what he considered the limitations of photography to “see around corners.”Photographers capture a moment, he said, but he could combine moments, often hours apart, into a single picture and thereby convey, he believed, a larger truth. He might, for example, pluck images from a political convention — a balloon drop, a speaker, a network camera — that never appeared together, and put them in the same frame.
Eric William Ravilious (1903 – 1942) was an English painter, designer, book illustrator and wood engraver. He grew up in East Sussex. He was educated at Eastbourne School of Art and then at the Royal College of Art (1922–5), where he was taught by Paul Nash and became close friends with Edward Bawden. His watercolour landscapes and rural interiors often featured the downland and coast of southern England; haunting and lyrical, these works show a world in suspense and often feature chalk hill figures, and empty rooms (e.g. Farmhouse Bedroom, 1939; London, V&A). He achieves an amazing feeling of light. In 1939 he became a War Artist, and during World War II he depicted such subjects as De-iceing Aircraft (c. 1942; London, Imp. War Mus.). He died while observing a sea rescue mission.
Apart from a brief experimentation with oils in 1930 – inspired by the works of Johan Zoffany – Ravilious painted almost entirely in watercolour.He was especially inspired by the landscape of the South Downs around Beddingham. He frequently returned to Furlongs, the cottage of Peggy Angus. He said that his time there “altered my whole outlook and way of painting, I think because the colour of the landscape was so lovely and the design so beautifully obvious … that I simply had to abandon my tinted drawings”.Some of his works, such as Tea at Furlongs, were painted there.
Ravilious was accepted as a full-time salaried artist by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee in December 1939. He was given the rank of Honorary Captain in the Royal Marinesand assigned to the Admiralty. From here he painted some of how most powerful watercolours.
Ravilious engraved more than 400 illustrations and drew over 40 lithographic designs for books and publications during his lifetime. His first commission, in 1926, was to illustrate a novel for Jonathan Cape. He went on to produce work both for large companies such as the Lanston Corporation and smaller, less commercial publishers, such as the Golden Cockerel Press (for whom he illustrated an edition of Twelfth Night), the Curwen Press and the Cresset Press. His woodcut of two Victorian gentlemen playing cricket has appeared on the front cover of every edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanacksince 1938. His style of wood-engraving was greatly influenced by that of Thomas Bewick. He in turn influenced other wood engravers, such as Gwenda Morgan who also depicted scenes in the South Downs and was commissioned by the Golden Cockerel Press.
In the mid-1930s he took up lithography, making a print of Newhaven Harbour for the “Contemporary Lithographs” scheme, and a set of full-page lithographs, mostly of shop interiors, for a book called High Street, with text by J. M. Richards. Following a trip in a submarine in the war he produced Submarine Dream, a set of 11 lithographs.
Design and ceramics
In February 1936, Ravilious held his second exhibition at the Zwemmer Gallery and again it was a success, with 28 out of the 36 paintings shown being sold. This exhibition also led to a commission from Wedgwood to for ceramic designs. His work for them included a commemorative mug to mark the abortive coronation of Edward VIII; the design was revised for the coronation ofGeorge VI. Other popular Ravilious designs included the Alphabet mug of 1937, and the china sets, Afternoon Tea (1938), Travel (1938), and Garden Implements (1939), plus the Boat Race Day cup in 1938. Production of Ravilious’ designs continued into the 1950s, with the coronation mug design being posthumously reworked for the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953. He also undertook glass designs for Stuart Crystal in 1934, graphic advertisements for London Transport and furniture work for Dunbar Hay in 1936. Ravilious and Bawden were both active in the campaign by the Artists’ International Association to support the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War. Throughout 1938 and 1939, Ravilious spent time working in Wales, the south of France and at Aldeburgh to prepare works for his third one-man show, which was held at the Arthur Tooth & Sons Gallery in 1939.
Frans Masereel (31 July 1889 – 3 January 1972) was a Flemish painter and graphic artist who worked mainly in France. He is known especially for his woodcuts. His greatest work is generally said to be the wordless novel Mon Livre d’Heures (Passionate Journey). He completed over 20 other wordless novels in his career. Masereel’s woodcuts strongly influenced the work of Lynd Ward and later graphic artists such as Clifford Harper and Eric Drooker. There is a Frans Masereel Centre (Frans Masereel Centrum for Graphix) in the village of Kasterlee in Belgium.
Frans Masereel was born in the Belgian Blankenberge on 31 July 1889. He moved to Ghent in 1896, where he began to study at the École des Beaux-Arts in the class of Jean Delvin at the age of 18. In 1909 he went on trips to England and Germany, which inspired him to create his first etchings and woodcuts. In 1911 Masereel settled in Paris for four years and then emigrated to Switzerland, where he worked as a graphic artist for journals and magazines. His woodcut series, mainly of sociocritical content and of expressionistic form concept, made Masereel internationally known. Among these were the wordless novels 25 Images of a Man’s Passion (1918), Passionate Journey (1919), The Sun (1919), The Idea (1920) and Story Without Words (1920). At that time Masereel also drew illustrations for famous works of world literature by Thomas Mann, Émile Zola and Stefan Zweig. In 1921 Masereel returned to Paris, where he painted his famous street scenes, the Montmartre paintings. He lived for a time in Berlin, where his closest creative friend was George Grosz. After 1925 he lived near Boulogne-sur-Mer, where he painted predominantly coast areas, harbour views, and portraits of sailors and fishermen. During the 1930s his output declined. In 1940 he fled from Paris and lived in several cities in Southern France.
At the end of World War II Masereel was able to resume his artistic work and produced woodcuts and paintings. After 1946 he worked for several years as a teacher at the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar (de) in Saarbrücken. In 1949 Masereel settled in Nice. In the following years until 1968 several series of woodcuts were published, which differ from his earlier “novels in picture'” in comprising variations of a subject instead of being a continuing narrative. He also designed decorations and costumes for numerous theatre productions. The artist was honoured in numerous exhibitions and became a member of several academies. Frans Masereel died in Avignon in 1972 and was entombed in Ghent. The cultural organizationMasereelfonds was named after him.
From Mon Livre d’Heures (A Passionate Journey, 1919)
The American graphic artist Lynd Ward was greatly influenced by Masereel in creating his novels in woodcuts.A number of cartoonists have cited Masereel as an influence on the development of the graphic novel: Art Spiegelman cited Mon Livre d’Heures as an early influence on his Maus.Will Eisner cited Masereel as an influence on his work, as has scratchboard novelist Eric Drooker.
Katz’s paintings are defined by their flatness of colour and form, their economy of line, and their cool but seductive emotional detachment. A key source of inspiration is the woodcuts produced by Japanese artist Kitagawa Utamaro.
Beginning in the late 1950s, Katz developed a technique of painting on cut panels, first of wood, then aluminum, calling them “cutouts”. In the early 1960s, influenced by films, television, and billboard advertising, Katz began painting large-scale paintings, often with dramatically cropped faces. These works would occupy space like sculptures, but their physicality is compressed into planes, as with paintings. In later works, the cutouts are attached to wide, U-shaped aluminum stands, with a flickering, cinematic presence enhanced by warm spotlights. Most are close-ups, showing either front-and-back views of the same figure’s head or figures who regard each other from opposite edges of the stand.
After 1964, Katz increasingly portrayed groups of figures. He would continue painting these complex groups into the 1970s, portraying the social world of painters, poets, critics, and other colleagues that surrounded him. He began designing sets and costumes for choreographer Paul Taylor in the early 1960s, and he has painted many images of dancers throughout the years. One Flight Up (1968) consists of more than 30 portraits of some of the leading lights of New York’s intelligentsia during the late 1960s, such as the poet John Ashbery, the art critic Irving Sandler and the curator Henry Geldzahler, who championed Andy Warhol. Each portrait is painted using oils on both sides of a sliver of aluminium that has then been cut into the shape of the subject’s head and shoulders. The silhouettes are arranged predominantly in four long rows on a plain metal table.
In the late 1980s, Katz took on a new subject in his work: fashion models in designer clothing, including Kate Moss and Christy Turlington. “I’ve always been interested in fashion because it’s ephemeral,” he said.
In 1965, Katz also embarked on a prolific career in printmaking. Katz would go on to produce many editions in lithography, etching, silkscreen, woodcut and linoleum cut, producing over 400 print editions in his lifetime.