Lee Friedlander: A Ramble in Olmsted Parks

(“Central Park, 1992” – Lee Friedlander)

Yesterday’s rain and windy weather made it a perfect afternoon for a museum visit, so I headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see two photography exhibits and the “Jasper Johns: Gray” exhibit.  The highlight for me was the Lee Friedlander photography exhibit, entitled “Lee Friedlander: A Ramble in Olmsted Parks”.  The gallery was filled with forty of Friedlander’s black-and-white photographs, taken from 1988 forward, of parks and outdoor spaces designed by Olmsted in the 1800s.  Many of the photos show long, elegant branches or thick tree trunks in front of a bridge or other human-made structure; others capture the shadow that a majestic tree casts upon a large open field; and still others show sunlight filtering through the branches and leaves of a tree in full bloom.  While the majority were taken in Central Park, there are also several from Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, Boston, Wisconsin, and upstate New York.  I think Friedlander excelled at capturing the varying personalities and moods of the trees – other-worldly, haunted, regal, and proud, among other descriptions – and suggesting how they contrast with (or at times, can be threatened by) human-made bridges and buildings.  The exhibit is on display until May 11, so I highly recommend you make a trip to the Met to see it.

Read more about the exhibit here, and see several of Friedlander’s photographs in this NY Times slideshow.

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