Letters From the People
New York City: Distributed Art Publishers, 1993. Folio. (13 3/8 x 14 1/2 inches). First edition, 88pp. 213 black and white tricolor separation photographs.
Black publisher's cloth, with embossed title on cover and spine, and with dust jacket. Fine copy.
Written language, in a variety of forms and contexts, is the subject of this photographic essay by Lee Friedlander
"Lee Friedlander, whose recently published books range from studies of nudes to the musicians of New Orleans, adds to the diversity of his work in Letters from the People by photographing language itself. He also confirms his position as one of the major American photographers in the tradition of Walker Evans, whose book Message from the Interior provided the scale on which Letters from the People is based. The scale is monumental. The book begins with the alphabet, moves into numerals, and then develops into sentences. The dynamics of this found language, photographed from the streets and walls of America, is heightened by the irregular grid of the book design [designed by Katy Homans]. Starting with the simplest device, Friedlander has built a great American epic, resonant with the democracy of the title.