Although I studied with Minor White in an experimental graduate program in photography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and admired his iconic photographic abstractions, for most of my career my chief interest has been in portraiture as a personal documentary and street photographer.
I never felt personally connected to abstraction until I happened to attend a golf equipment trade show and saw a bisected golf ball. For the first time, abstraction resonated with me as I discovered elegant formal qualities and surprising metaphorical possibilities in the unlikeliest of places, a 1.68” golf ball. Thirty-five years after first viewing the abstractions of photographers White and Aaron Siskind and the paintings of Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell, I learned to appreciate and embrace abstraction in my own work. For some viewers, my photographs from this series, titled Interior Design, allude to celestial bodies and the sublime. For me, their serendipitous structural exquisiteness and their subtle and passionate arrays of colors have inspired new exploration in my photography; I am particularly delighted to see the diminutive golf balls transformed into 36” x 36” prints.
Using his family’s Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera, James Friedman took his first photograph as a five-year-old – commencing an immediate and lifelong passion for photography as a means of expression and a way of both seeing and interacting with the world. Of his initial attempts at photography, he remarked that, “When I looked through the camera’s viewfinder as a child, a world that could be confusing and sometimes fearsome seemed harmonious and balanced.”
Friedman is grateful to have had as his mentors two luminaries of 20th century photography, Minor White and Imogen Cunningham, who taught him not only technique and vision but also how to devote his life to the medium.
He is the recipient of the prestigious Aaron Siskind Foundation Individual Photographer’s Fellowship, the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio and eight photographer’s grants and fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council.
Friedman lives in Columbus, Ohio where he is a prolific and award-winning photographer and teacher, offering workshops, classes and individual mentoring. He accepts commissioned projects or other initiatives that may include photography, book projects, curatorial work and picture editing.
His website is www.jamesfriedmanphotographer.com
Kent Krugh is a fine art photographer living in Cincinnati.