It is at the occasion of a business trip that I took the opportunity to skip lunch and visit a large solo photo exhibition of Abe Frajndlich’s work, given at the Fotografie Forum Frankfurt (FFF). I did not know of the existence of either before that time. FFF is a large exhibition space located in the middle of town. It operates under the same principles as FOAM in Amsterdam, as an independent center for photography. Abe Frajndlich, apart from having a name difficult – if not impossible – to pronounce, is a well-established and well-known American photographer, known mainly for his portraits of celebrities with whom he rubbed shoulders throughout his professional life. He was born in Frankfurt just after the war and moved to the USA at age 10. His solo exhibit is large (more than 160 photographs) and eclectic, covering his entire career. Its title: Chameleon, to denote his “iridescent diversity”. Diversity is indeed the master word of this collection: from his black and white street photography in multiple countries, through his portraits of famous artists such as Leonard Cohen, Louise Bourgeois, Daido Moriyama, David Hockney or Jack Lemmon, his staged images of Gordon Parks or Louise Dahl-Wolfe and his pictures from his book Eros Eterna. I forgot to mention the marvelous collages. My favorite of all remain this enigmatic “Man Graffiti” and “Miami De Kooning”, both blurring the genre between photography and painting. Frajndlich is a chameleon for sure and this retrospective, in his home town, was a discovery and worth the 20€ taxi to get there.

Man Graffiti, Meatpacking District, NYC, 2012 ©Abe Frajndlich
Robert Frank, Wellesley, MA, 1975 ©Abe Frajndlich
Jack Lemmon with lemons, 1996 ©Abe Frajndlich
Minami De Kooning, NYC, 2010/2019 ©Abe Frajndlich