Portraits: The Human Clay


Lee Friedlander

American photographer Lee Friedlander (born 1934) has had an expansive career, photographing his subjects—from family and friends to political figures and celebrities—in their everyday environments, while simultaneously changing the very landscape of his chosen media. The Human Clay is a new series of six publications to be released over three years, each of which focuses on images of people and features hundreds of photographs, many never before published, chosen and sequenced by the artist himself from his vast archive.

Portraits presents nearly 300 photographs of the musicians, authors, artists, and more that Friedlander has met over the last five decades. Many of the images show prominent figures, including artists Maya Lin and Walker Evans, in private spaces—unguarded in living rooms and kitchens, captured in conversation or an embrace. In others, celebrities such as Fats Domino and Derek Jeter are surrounded by the trappings of fame.


Portraits confirms why Lee Friedlander is one of the most highly regarded American portrait photographers of the 20th-century … . Each portrait captures the person’s character, thanks to Friedlander’s tender and sophisticated eye.—Anna Bonita Evans, Black & White Photography

For the last 40 years, the American legend has been photographing his famous friends in their downtime, getting more intimate than any other artist could.Guardian


Friedlander’s subjects range from Fran Lebowitz to Derek Jeter, from Allen Ginsberg to Martin Luther King Jr., all depicted with arresting immediacy.—Stephanie Eckardt, New York magazine’s “The Cut”

Consistently beguiling and intimate.—Ola Wihlke, Bear Books blog