In 1994, suffering from aching knees and painfully concerned about it, Lee Friedlander (born 1934) decided to prepare himself for a sedentary life. He began to pursue the still life as a possibility and maybe a way of photographic life - a dramatic shift for a man who has spent his life photographing on the street, in the woods, on the road, at parties, anywhere but sitting down.
He tried a variety of subjects with a few good results, but nothing stood out until he began to look at the fresh flowers that his wife Maria placed around their home in cut-glass vases. But nevermind the flowers. True to Friedlande’s style, he very quickly found himself most interested in the stems. He focused his lens on wild arrays of stems and the optical splendor produced by light refracting through the glass vases that contained them.
Published in a lush, oversize volume, printed with a special drytrap process, Stems is the result of this unusual saga in the photographer’s career.