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

 The world makes up my pictures, not me. 
 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. 
 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. 
 [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. 
 That little tiny moment [in photography] is a beginning and an end and it has something to do with the same kind of mentality that an athlete has to use… The tricks that good tennis players use, especially what happens when the ball bounces and does odd things… You couldn’t predict what you’re what you’re going to do. Try to hit it back. Not only try to hit it back, try to hit it back in a weird way. Or in some articulate way. And I think photography is stuck with those same kinds of moments, especially if you’re not a studio photographer. You don’t have much control. 
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