New York

Lee Friedlander

Light Gallery

Painting knows no counterpart to that half-world which parallels that of serious photography. Photography, which finds uniquely prolific employment among advertisers and journalists, has bred an entire, coherent esthetic—trite, seductive and enmeshed in camera mechanics—alongside the concerns of its real masters. The pictures I am thinking of turn up in magazines like Popular Photography. These might be distorted nudes in vivid purple, gaping wide-angle views of skyscrapers seen from the street, or impossibly luscious views of flowers. Their ubiquitous presence, unfortunately, makes things difficult for serious photographers, who risk cliché whenever they enter kitsch’s territory. Unafraid, Lee Friedlander has recently published a magnificent portfolio, Flowers, in which he retrieves perhaps the most emblematic of the popular photographers’ themes.

Of course, major photographers in the

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