went to see lee friedlander’s America by Car show at the whitney on sunday (during the height of my terrible cold- boo!!!) the images in the exhibition were from a body of work where for a ten-year period friedlander shot small towns, big cities, desolate landscapes; a variety of distinctly american places and people (across the 50 states), from a slew of different rent-a-cars, with the self-imposed rule of using a part of the automobile (door frame, windshield, rearview mirror, side mirror, etc…) to frame the photograph. sometimes the framing enhanced the composition of the image, however, a lot of the time i felt that the body of the automobile unnecessarily interfered with what i really wanted to see, the lovely Americana imagery- ubobstructed by the ugly plastic of today’s uninspired, throw-away automobiles…

there were certainly some photographs that i particularly enjoyed (probably about 15 – 20) but i felt like there were too many second-tier images, used only to make the exhibition feel full, these filler pictures brought down the quality of the exhibition & were not nearly as impressive as the images that truly worked.

i do kind of like the idea of not having to get out of the car to take photographs though (who likes to to deal with mean dogs, meaner rednecks, crap, non-cooperative weather), hell, when i am 76, i may incorporate the same technique (but i would most certainly use a cooler car– like a 1966 dodge dart)!


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