Winter in San Francisco, part 1: Masao Yamamoto & Lee Friedlander at 49 Geary
Lee Friedlander’s endless road trip at Fraenkel Gallery is genius in editing - 50 years of photography in 100 photographs. It feels more essential than the mega Cartier-Bresson exhibit (with at least 300 prints) at SFMOMA.
Friedlander’s personality shoots across decades, the greatest wit in street photography, but there are just as many Hopper-esque American surfaces - the rear view mirror, the diner window, the sad vignetting of a 60s television. Lee’s known for “Salt Peanuts,” but also plays “Tin Tin Deo.”
Upstairs you’ll find Masao Yamamoto’s diminutive, tea-tinted prints. They have been handled and rubbed to become perfect antiques of the 1990’s, floating above the mats like discarded tobacco leaves on a pond.
Friedlander’s cloud is one of the great compositions, but what you notice first is: a cloud walks into a bar and the yield sign gets a hat. Yamamoto’s cloud is evidence, a print documenting an altruistic alien, whose visit we do not deserve.
(top: Lee Friedlander, Knoxville, 1971, bottom: Masao Yamamoto, A Box of Ku #246)