Frederick Law Olmsted Landscapes.
Photographs and text by Lee Friedlander.
D.A.P., New York, 2008. 84 pp., 89 tritone illustrations, 13x12¾".
A natural chronicler of all things uniquely American, photographer
Lee Friedlander here puts his lens to the work of Frederick
Law Olmsted (1822–1903), designer of many of this country’s most
iconic public landscapes and the father of North American landscape
architecture. Olmsted was responsible for a staggering
number of America’s greatest parks, including the Niagara reservation
(North America’s oldest state park),Washington Park, the
Biltmore Estate, the U.S. Capitol building landscape and entire
parkway systems in Buffalo and Louisville. His most famous work
remains New York City’s Central Park, a pioneering egalitarian gesture
that, at the time, was very unusual for its ready accessibility.
This book, published to coincide with The Metropolitan Museum
of Art’s 2008 exhibition, compiles 89 photographs made by
Friedlander in Olmsted’s public parks and private estates.
This stunning collection of rich tritones celebrates the complex,
idiosyncratic picture-making of one of the country’s greatest
living photographers, and also arrives upon the 150 year
anniversary of Olmsted’s 1858 design for Central Park. Rambling
across bridges and through open meadows and dense undergrowth,
Friedlander locates a pure pleasure in Olmsted’s
designs—in the meticulous stonework, the balance of exposure
to shade and in the mature, weather-beaten trees that attest
to the durability of Olmsted’s vision.
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