Lee FRIEDLANDER, Mt. Rushmore Enlarge 1 /1


United States of America born 1934

Mt. Rushmore 1969 Place made: United States of America
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Dimensions: printed image 18.8 h x 28.0 w cm sheet 27.9 h x 35.3 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1981
Accession No: NGA 81.954

I always wanted to be a photographer. I was fascinated with the materials. But I never dreamed I would be having this much fun. I imagined something much less elusive, much more mundane.
Lee Friedlander

Friedlander is known for his complex, layered images, exploring the way that the urban landscape fragments our vision. Throughout his career he has found endless fascination in photographing reflections in windows – merging what lies behind the glass with what is reflected in it – out of which he has created juxtapositions which are witty and insightful. He often inserts himself into the image, either overtly or more frequently as a shadow or partially concealed form – part of his face, for instance, hidden behind the camera.

In the 1960s he moved away from a recognisably documentary style toward one in which the subject is more elusive, reflecting a society which had itself become more fragmented and complex. By cropping and cutting up city and natural landscapes he changes our perception of them. In creating compositions that are dynamic, unexpected and often confusing, Friedlander asks us to look freshly at our everyday environments.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra