The exhibition will begin at Musée des beaux-arts Le Locle, Switzerland, in Summer 2019 and will be available subsequently 
beginning in Fall 2019


And the Photobook

Curated by Joshua Chuang.


For many photographers, photobooks are a primary means of—and catalyst for— realizing a body of work and presenting it to the world. Few have demonstrated this with more vitality and dedication than Lee Friedlander, whose first monograph, Self Portrait (1970), launched an extraordinary succession of activity that stands as a monumental achievement in the field of photographic publishing, and that continues unabated. By the end of 2017, Friedlander will have published approximately 50 photobooks, each as distinct and remarkable as its subject. Autonomously edited, collaboratively produced, and always image-driven, these volumes embody the intention, character, and cumulative effect of his vast oeuvre more immediately and accessibly than his exhibitions or singular, handmade prints—leading the photographer himself to call them his true medium.

This retrospective is the first major scholarly effort to survey and explore Lee Friedlander’s work specifically through the lens of his books, which segment, sequence, and codify his vision of the world. Spanning nearly five decades of activity, they manifest themselves in a diversity of forms—from slim, self-published and distributed paperbacks to lavish deluxe editions replete with original prints—and cover nearly every photographic genre, from family snapshot and street photograph to still life and landscape. Although some books were independently conceived, such as Flowers and Trees (1978), and others resulted from commissions, such as Factory Valleys (1982) and Cray at Chippewa Falls (1987), all are direct products of Friedlander’s eye, hand, mind, and sensibility, establishing them as much more than bound collections of reproductions. More recently, concurrently with contemporary projects such as America By Car (2010) and Mannequin (2012), he has focused his darkroom and publishing efforts on re-evaluating and editing his immense archive, yielding absorbing new anthologies such as In the Picture (2011) and the series The Human Clay (2015-17), which survey more than six decades of work.

A comprehensive selection of Friedlander’s photobooks—which will be displayed with a variety of engaging installation strategies, including a generous number of examples that can be handled by viewers—will be presented in the context of portfolios, ephemera, and up to 100 period prints, confirming this influential photographer’s commitment to editing and publishing photobooks as the central thrust and ultimate output of his creative process.

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An accompanying publication will be produced by a major trade publisher in association with FEP. It will document how the books are produced and illuminate his various collaborators’ roles.