Lee Friedlander
[Photographer, b. 1934, Aberdeen, Washington, lives in New York.]

 The world makes up my pictures, not me. 
 I suspect it is for one’s self-interest that one looks at one’s surroundings and one’s self. This search is personally born and is indeed my reason and motive for making photographs. The camera is not merely a reflecting pool and the photographs are not exactly the mirror, mirror on the wall that speaks with a twisted tongue. Witness is borne and puzzles come together at the photographic moment which is very simple and complete. The mind-finger presses the release on the silly machine and it stops time and holds what its jaws can encompass and what the light will stain. 
 With a camera like that [a Leica 35mm rangefinder] you don’t believe you’re in the masterpiece business. It’s enough to be able to peck at the world. 
 I only wanted Uncle Vern standing by his new car (a Hudson) on a clear day. I got him and the car. I also got a bit of Aunt Mary’s laundry and Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on a fence, and a row of potted tuberous begonias on the porch and seventy-eight trees and a million pebbles in the driveway and more. It’s a generous medium, photography. 
 [Garry Winogrand] was a bull of a man and the world his china shop. 
 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. 
 I’m not a premeditative photographer. I see a picture and I make it. If I had a chance, I’d be out shooting all the time. You don’t have to go looking for pictures. The material is generous. You go out and the pictures are staring at you. 
 The idea that the snapshot would be thought of as a cult or movement is very tiresome to me and, I’m sure, confusing to others. It’s a swell word I've always liked. It probably came about because it describes a basic fact of photography. In a snap, or small portion of time, all that the camera can consume in breadth and bite and light is rendered in astonishing detail: all the leaves on a tree, as well as the tree itself and all its surroundings. 
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