Lee Friedlander’s discordant urban landscapes and the labour of vision.

Emerging landscapes conference. 25-27 June 2010

I will be presenting a paper at this conference. My abstract is below:

The work of the American ‘social landscapist’ photographer Lee Friedlander will be examined alongside the insights of critical architectural theory to show how an interdisciplinary approach can inform a greater critical engagement with the urban landscape. Friedlander’s focus on the urban fabric of the cities and small towns that he encountered, and his depiction of the streets and back alleys of the American everyday, informs our visual understanding of the urban landscape as well as prefiguring much of the theoretical discussion of non-places and junk space.

His work continues to influence photographers but can also inform a broader understanding of the urban condition amongst architects and urbanists. By viewing his work alongside the phenomenological investigations into how we perceive the world we live in, new insights can be gained.

Architectural theorist Alberto Perez-Gomez’s challenge to perspectival representation and the importance he places on the temporal nature of vision will be central to the process of re-viewing Friedlander’s photographs. Perez-Gomez’s discussion of the internal discordance in Giambattista Piranesi’s Carcere oscura series and his broader critique of ‘Cartesian perspectivism’ will be shown to open up new ways of thinking both about Friedlander’s work and the practice of urban landscape photography.

more info on the conference is here: http://www.emerginglandscapes.org.uk/


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