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From the Publisher
Although leafing through Portraits is like paging through a cultural Who's Who, studying the pictures rewards the viewer with a deeper sense of who these celebrities really are, and of what they've accomplished. By asking his subjects to present themselves in a personal, often intimate manner one that incorporates their work, their identity, even their influences Frajndlich takes the standard celebrity shot several steps further. The results are reminiscent of Medieval and Renaissance portraits in their nuanced and knowing detail, their iconographic references, their sly humor and pathos. Here is Yoko Ono overshadowed by her late husband; Leo Castelli flanked by a Jasper Johns work; Robert Duvall behind bars at his Virginia Ranch; David Hockney poolside; Elie Wiesel in his library; Allen Ginsberg hiding behind his former self; and a defiantly censored Milos Forman. These and the many other portraits in this collection open intimate windows into very public lives! . At the same time, each of these images is a tribute to the talents and achievements of its subject. Frajndlich himself calls them entropic freezes, preserving their subjects in a time/space trajectory. Since I meet most of my subjects only once, he writes, my objective is to make the most of our brief, but precious, encounter. . . . If the photo session is fruitful, a portrait emerges that reveals a facet of their complex inner domain. From its first warm and loving portrait of Frajndlich's mentor Minor White, to its final, bittersweet image of photographer Duane Michals contemplating a painted forest from a New York City sidewalk, it is safe to say that these photographs are indeed fruitful in just the way Frajndlich desires. Portraits is a book to return to again and again, one that offers viewers an experience akin to having a conversation with an incredibly interesting person. It is a book that reaffirms our belief in the power of art to inspire, transform, and enric! h our lives.
From the Inside Flap
Praise for Abe Frajndlich: "Abe Frajndlich does not photograph people standing in front of white no-seam paper, staring at the camera. He does not photograph giant passport head shots pretending that wrinkles are revelation. He does take elegant portraits that suggest the atmosphere of the sitter with metaphors that hint at who he might be." -Duane Michals "Abe Frajndlich is fun, serious and, a continuous source of delight." -Arnold Newman
Born in 1946, Abe... read more
=Each subject, each stranger, becomes a seduction . . . As a photographer you are asked to interpret an artist you have only met through his or her work. They must feel comfortable enough to be totally vulnerable. Ultimately, taking a picture is an intimate collaborationa true seduction.Abe Frajndlich, from the Introduction by Phoebe Hoban
Most of us take no more than a few seconds to look at a photograph. The composition, the lighting, the subject, each make their impression and then we move on. But the experience of looking at a photograph by Abe Frajndlich is one of lingering, of taking second and third glances to discover some new detail, or pick up on a reference that was missed the first time around. Playful, whimsical, multi-layered and surprising, the photographs in Abe Frajndlich Portraits demand to be savored and appreciated. Not only because of their technical and stylistic excellence, but also because of the stories they tell about their subjects some of the world's most celebrated figures from the world of art, literature, music and film.