(a free Third Thursdays event at Minneapolis Institute of Art)...
I just had my rear kicked and handed to me on a beautiful silver gelatin platter… I feel simultaneously inspired and depressed after walking through the massive (!!) Lee Friedlander retrospective at the MIA… hundreds of prints (too many? There was no way to spend enough time), 8 rooms full of his early jazz color portraits, classic self portraits, street photos, nature work, “work” work (people at work…)… so much work… but I must say, Friedlander often gets pegged in my photo classes as “the quirky snapshot street guy” but this retrospective gives you a much deeper insight into the amount of compositional skill and technical mastery Friedlander has. His prints are flawless and incredibly rich… and rather than seeing his style as “accidental,” I am now pretty convinced it’s just a confidence in his eye and his voice that allows him so much freedom to look “quirky” and casual.
And as if that show alone isn’t enough to make you cry, in the room next door is a collection of 26 massive prints from Alec Soth’s “Sleeping by the Mississippi.” The MIA is the first museum to purchase the series as a body of work, and it’s appropriate, considering that Soth used to work at the museum during the time that he went on his multiple Mississippi travels, before his rocket to fame in 2004.
(Trivia note-- he worked in the Prints collection… in fact, he worked there at the same time that I was working there, in 1999, when I worked with the summer kids programs… shame that I didn’t get a chance to meet him then… not that either of us would’ve had a reason to run into each other… )
click here to learn more and to check out some videos on the MIA website about Soth's working method.... it's always cool to see a photographer at work.
Having just finished a 2nd version/edition of my Northwoods Journals book, I am made all the more aware of the influence both of these photographers have had on my work… and I’m all the more intimidated and humbled by their work.