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Leonard Freed
Another Life
HC 24,5 x 30 cm., 440 pp.
ABP Public Affairs 2005

"Photography is a visual language still in its infancy. Just as the poet adds meaning to words, so the photographer adds to visual symbols. But, whereas the other arts developed in time over centuries, photography has yet to mature and define itself. The fact that millions of people can see the same visual images on television, in films or photography is communication; is language.
The first appearance of spacemen on the moon made history as did Christopher Columbus's first steps in the new world. The first is a visual fact, the second is a literary one. For Columbus we mst imagine the scene while for the astronauts the details remain for all of us exactly identical. We speak the same language in China, India or Africa when we say, "First man on the moon." We all have the same visual image. Photography (i.e. reproduction) has become the universal language.

To be a poet-photographer is both saddening and challenging. Saddening to think that literary traditions are being lost to a language that is only in its infancy. Challenging in that one is free to be orignal." Leonard Freed.

"Born into a working class family of radical Jewish Eastern European immigrants, Freed at first wanted to become a painter. After trips to Europe and North Africa, he returned to the US and in 1954 studied in Alexei Brodovitch's "design laboratory." Brodovitch told Freed he "needn't pay, just attend". Edward Steichen, Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, bought three of Freeds photos for the Museum. Telling him after a conversation of two hours, that he was one of the three best young photographers he had seen and advised Freed to remain an amateur as the other two were now doing commercial photography and were not now interesting, "preferably, be a truck driver", he said. Freed became famous first for his involvement with the American civil rights movement, then with the 1980 publication of his book Police Work which made, in words and pictures, statements about brutality while questioning our need for authority. Photography became his way of exploring complex issues such as societal violence and racial discrimination (including a study of the Ku Klux Klan), German society and his own Jewish roots in numerous books and films. He joined Magnum in 1972 and since then has worked on assignment for the major international press." Magnum


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