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Fuck you, too.
The first question that pops into my mind after I read the article on Glen E. Friedman’s “Fuck You All” show at the Govinda Gallery (“After the Revolution,” 6/9) was “Did Mark Jenkins actually do any research before writing that?” It certainly didn’t look like it. Had he done research he would have found that Friedman is anything but a “commercial artist.”
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The article neglected to mention several things about Friedman. His motivation has never been commercial. His work is motivated by his deep involvement with his subjects. It also neglected to find out that fewer than four of the 300 prints at the gallery were actually used as publicity shots. The photos he shot weren’t just “images”—they were photographic memories of various scenes (punk, skateboarding, hiphop) he was involved in. Perhaps if Jenkins had read more of what Friedman has said repeatedly in interviews, or taken the time to interview Friedman, he would also know that Friedman stopped shooting pictures of people with guns because he realized that the image could be misinterpreted, just as he misinterpreted it.
I know this information because I did do extensive research when I did an essay a few years ago about Friedman. In fact, to make sure I was portraying the photographer accurately, I interviewed him. Through extensive research, had he done any, Jenkins would have found that Friedman is very political about what he does. One glance at Friedman’s Web site and Jenkins would have seen dozens of links to organizations that Friedman believes in, gets inspiration from, and encourages others to get inspiration from.
Jenkins obviously forgot the most important rule in journalism: research, research, research. Then again, perhaps the Man told him what to write….