Victor Friedman was born to Russian immigrant Jewish parents in
The Bronx in May of 1930. He spent most of his youth in Brooklyn where
he met and married his high school girlfriend, Leah Kornfeld. They
were married in 1950 and he began a career as a hairdresser. Friedman
had an urge to create art and enrolled in evening classes at the Brooklyn
Museum Art School, studying painting and drawing with William Keinbusch
and Ruben Tam. While searching for a camera in order to document his
work, he "fell in love with photography."
As a photographer, Victor Friedman is largely self-taught. An
avid reader, he read every book on the subject he could find. He does,
however, acknowledge the help of a good friend and photographer, George
Aptecker, who showed him the basics of the camera and darkroom work.
During this period, he frequented museums and galleries studying the
work of twentieth-century master photographers, including W. Eugene
Smith, Lewis Hines, Walker Evans, Andre Kertesz, and Paul Strand.
In order to support his family, he continued his career as a hairdresser
for the prestigious Kenneth Beauty Salon in Manhattan, but he continued
his photography work on evenings and weekends. He had his first show
at the Brooklyn Museum with George Aptecker in 1969.
His early work covered the areas in which he grew up and frequented
as a youth: the streets of Brooklyn, the Lower East Side, and Coney
Island. He then began photographing the Hassidic community and its
celebrations. After building a home in eastern Long Island in 1969,
he expanded his subjects to include landscapes and seascapes, which
culminated in a portfolio of photogravures he produced in 1981 entitled
Nova Scotia. According to the artist, "My choice of subjects were
and continue to be derived from spontaneous encounters in the streets
and back roads of my personal environments and journeys." His newest
work, abstract figurative and still life photography combines his
training as a painter with his love of photography into cubist compositions.
These new photographs exhibit Friedman's keen sense of composition
and his exceptional ability in the darkroom.
He taught photography at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton
from 1980-1985 and continues to teach private workshops. He is a member
of The Artists' Alliance of East Hampton.
Always using available light, I desire to merge the natural
grace and beauty of the figure with still life, found objects and
musical instruments. Relying on the techniques of collage, hand
coloring, drawing and toning as well as on the mysterious surprises
that only the darkroom can reveal, I pursue the goal of creating
a harmonious image for each portrait. - - Victor Friedman