Lee Friedlander, one of America’s most prolific and celebrated photographers, recently participated in a rare talk to students on Pratt’s Brooklyn campus alongside longtime collaborators who have helped reproduce his iconic images in books: master photographic printer Richard Benson, graphic designer Katy Homans, and printer Thomas Palmer. The discussion coincided with the opening of Lee Friedlander: The Printed Picture, an exhibition including five decades of Friedlander’s monographs, held at the Pratt Library.
The event, which took place on April 30, was moderated by Stephen Hilger, chair of Pratt’s Photography Department. Benson, Homans, and Palmer provided insights into and anecdotes about the book-making process with the award-winning artist to current photography seniors and special invited guests.
Friedlander, who received an honorary degree from Pratt in 2013, has said, “The book is more my medium than the wall.” The discussion revealed how intimately Friedlander is involved in the bookmaking process—from deciding which photos to use and in what order—and showcased how the production process has changed with the shift from analog to digital technologies. While there are themes that course throughout his work, Friedlander does not work with particular subject matter in mind when he photographs. Instead, he is constantly taking photos, finding themes that emerge as he develops his work in the darkroom.
After several initial questions from Hilger, Pratt students and audience members were invited to ask questions of the panel. The final question was from a graduating senior about what advice the artist would give. “Go out and work,” he said.
The exhibition, which was reviewed in The Wall Street Journal, was curated by Hilger and Visiting Associate Professor of Photography Peter Kayafas, will run until October 6 at the Pratt Library on the Brooklyn campus.
Image: Peter Tannenbaum