Douglas Friedman's Welcome Challenge
When the call came in from Harper's Bazaar for Douglas Friedman to shoot Julie Macklowe again, he knew exactly what to expect. He and Julie's family have been working together for about seven years; Douglas has shoot Julie no fewer than three times for Harper's Bazaar. Even though they clicked immediately the first time, each progressive shoot develops their relationship resulting in deeper and more expressive photographs. "She gets better and better," Douglas says. "I think what makes our working relationship, our creative relationship, so special is that she is very willing to trust me and trust my ideas." Those ideas result in Julie climbing into the windows of her apartment, playing telephone with her daughter, and lounging on a bed surrounded by inflated frogs.
Douglas' particular talent is being able to frame expressive portraits in beautiful interiors. When asked how he does it, he says there's no trick. He's really shooting two photographs every time he hits the shutter. He explains the demands of what he has to shoot: "Beautiful interior shots that could exist on their own, with or without Julie. And then you’ve got to take a beautiful portrait that could also exist with or without the interior. Kind of marrying those two together." What results are environmental portraits on another level. They’re expressive and contextual, telling us a story that each element couldn’t tell independently. “It’s always a challenging process,” Douglas says. “A welcome challenge.”
When asked about the more experimental aspects of the images, like a population of frog balloons with Julie’s daughter jumping on her bed, Douglas responds with a knowing humor. “We like to be a little playful at Harper’s Bazaar. Amp up or elevate the reality a little,” he says. That elevation crystalizes the story a little more so Julie’s personality and temperament leaps off the page. Since Douglas has gotten to know Julie so well, we get to meet the woman he knows – and she’s a lot of fun.