Lee Friedlander is an exceptional appearance in the world of art photography.
To mention him in a blog dealing with photography
is as necessary or unnecessary as to mention the pope
in a magazine for deeply religious Catholics.
The books Lee Friedlander has made,
as far as I know them, are exceptionally printed and designed.
His book “Cherry Blossom Time In Japan” is no exception.
The paper is rough, just as I like it,
printing is excellent as far as I can judge it.
Two books in one: no back end, but two front covers.
Assembled behind the in different colors coded book fronts
are the vertical and horizontal frames of Friedlanders 35 mm images.
Taking photographs is trying to show something.
Most of the time we don’t leave the level of this child like:
”Look at this, look at that.”
That what is meant to be shown is centered in the middle most of the time:
the girl friend, the child, the Eiffel Tower, or the cherry blossoms.
Friedlander’s images break with this usual manner of pointing out.
He is photographing the chaotic and the random in a way
that in his constructions the chaotic
and the random find an order and stability.
He harnesses chaos in a hardly explicable manner.
I am showing here two, in the book consecutive, images.
It’s the same tree, the same branches,
photographed maybe in an interval of a day.
In the center a tree. No cherry tree.
From the fringes cherry tree branches intrude into the image.
They hide that what is centered and thus refer to themselves.
That what is meant infiltrates the ordinary construction of a photograph.
The almost diaphanous cherry blossoms
hide the opaque darkness of the tree trunk.
You can’t photograph cherry blossoms more radiantly.
The passing of seasons, the passing of time.
Springtime awaited impatiently.
Exploding vegetation. If you don’t pay attention,
you have already missed that.
Yesterday a shimmer of green,
today leaves obscuring the structure of the twigs.
I have learned to pay attention to this alteration.