Home  |  About us  |  Product  |  Service  |  Testimonials  |  Links  |  Resources  |  Contact us

Dave Frieder - Photographer / Construction Worker

DURST-PRO-USA:
" Dave, I love your picture with the sphere and the white cable leading the viewer to focus on downtown Manhattan. I love those incredible clouds. "

Dave Frieder:
" Yes, people just love that image. It's what everyone else seems to like. My favorite images are the ones where I'm documenting details of the structures themselves. The actual engineering behind the bridges is what really fascinates me.
This image shows an artistic view. It shows the sphere that serve no structural purpose what so ever, but are strictly artistic. Plus it shows the Brooklyn Bridge, another engineering masterpiece, and then it shows downtown Manhattan; so a lot of things are combined in one shot. It's everyone's favorite, so I think it's a good choice."

DURST-PRO-USA:
" I also love the image where Manhattan appears to be a kind of ship or barge going down the river. "

Dave Frieder:
" It's Queensborough Bridge with New York Skyline. "

DURST-PRO-USA:
" If you were to characterize yourself very shortly, what would you tell me? What are you doing, and why are you photographing. "

Dave Frieder:
" I see New York's bridges as giant sculptures; they just fascinate me. The fact that "man" has built these giant bridges of steel, suspension bridges is so fascinating. A first glance a bridge is a very simple thing, but in actuality, it's very complex. Especially the modern bridges today. The way we can take steel and sculpture it and make it into a working structure that has to support it's own weight, called dead weight, and also hold the live load, and make it beautiful, it's just fascinating to me.
The way the bridges blend into the surrounding environment, that's to me, another engineering triumph. "

DURST-PRO-USA:
" So are you in reality more an engineer than a photographer? "

Dave Frieder:
" No, no I'm a photographer in heart and in mind, struggling with my art, but still a Photographer. "

DURST-PRO-USA:
" How did you get started in photography? "

Dave Frieder:
" My parents had a little Kodak Brownie camera, and they started taking pictures when we first moved to New Jersey; you know, the new house, my mom with the dog. So then I started taking the camera and photographing interesting trees, and flowers, and what not. Then I moved up to the old Kodak 35mm. A plastic and metal Kodak 35mm. Then over the years I used the old Brownie cameras, the six sixteen film, the old formats, one sixteen for a while. Then I always was borrowing friends' cameras, 35mm top of the line cameras. I just couldn't afford to buy one for myself. Finally I bought my own 35mm and I started doing really well; I thought, "This is great!" So I decided to a larger format. I bought a Hasselblad and I liked the square format. "Hey, bigger negatives means sharper images." So I moved up to 4x5", then 5x7", then 8x10", so now I had all these major formats as tools. Every camera to me is a tool. Some people kept saying, "Well you should use 8x10" for Landscapes and smaller formats for documenting people". I used to tell them that I can't just choose my tool (camera) according to the type of image I also have to consider my working environment. I cannot do like a mechanic who will choose a certain wrench for a certain bolt. I need to take the environment, the weather and whatnot into consideration. Then I found New York's bridges, I think I told you how that worked. No, you never did! Oh, well; I've always been fascinated with New York's bridges. I was starting to fall in love with black and white photography and then someone asked if I'd ever heard of Ansel Adams. I said, "Yeah, kind of." They showed me some of his work and I found it incredible. Actually, let me break that down again. My father had a poster of Ansel Adams, The Moon Rise, he had cut the printed words off the poster. I think it was from "Images 1970". My father would say, "Isn't this an amazing photograph!" I'd say yeah it's pretty neat. Every time I went over to my fathers house it got more and more interesting. Looking at it I thought; this image is changed, it's manipulated; it can't look like this, in real life. I started studying Ansel Adams and then before you know it I called up the Ansel Adams gallery in Yosemite and asked to find out more information on him. They had me contact Jeff Nixon, who was Ansel Adams' workshop assistant. I contacted Jeff. We talked many times and he finally invited me to take a workshop with him in California, which I did. We became friends and he introduced me to John Sexton, who's work I found absolutely stunning. John was on the Golden Gate Bridge taking great photographs, I thought wow! These Images! Then Ron Wisner had his 8x10 camera up there and I thought, "These are really great photographs." So I asked my self, "Where are there more great bridges in the world, New York City! Oh wouldn't that be neat if….if, I have to check this out." So I looked in New York's public library, and a lot of New Jersey libraries and there were no fine art books on New York's bridges. I thought, maybe I can do something here. I always wanted to do something that no one else could do. Also during one of John's workshops I met Morley Bear and he thought my work was great. He said, " Dave you do great work but you need to focus on a subject. I mean you really have to focus on something that means a lot to you. Things that are very dear to you. The first workshop I had with John Sexton he gave me a lot of negative comments, which I felt kind of distressing, but it turned out to be a good feeling because it made me work even harder. So from there I made a million and one phone calls, and wrote a million and one letters to all the bridge authorities in the area. I told them what I wanted to try and do. I wanted to put together a black and white coffee table book of New York's bridges. They said, " No one has ever really done anything like this; we've had people up there, but no one working on a goal like that." I told them, "Well I'd like to work with your people so I will do whatever I have to do, get insurance, whatever. This is my 9th year photographing bridges. Still no one has been photographing New York's bridges as I have. I mean I'm the only one, outside of Amtrak, that's allowed on Hellgate Bridge. "

DURST-PRO-USA:
" How is the book project coming? How far away are you? "

Dave Frieder:
" It's very slow. The reason being, that a lot of the bridges are under repair. Many are covered in canvasses and scaffolding. It's really tough to show how beautiful they are when they're looking awful! I really want to show how beautiful they are. Right now the Henry Hudson Bridge, which is a major New York span, is getting the completing of it's decking, it's getting a brand new deck. It's a two level bridge and they have to repaint it. The original paint is really awful looking; it's ugly green, and peeling, with rust spots all over it. It won't be looking totally brand new for another year or two. The Marine Parkway Bridge, a major bridge to the Rockaways, which is off of Brooklyn, are being redone totally; they are installing a brand new deck and repainting it. It will look superb when it's finished, which won't be for another two years. My favorite bridge of all, the George Washington, they're going to start painting the towers from the roadway up, that's a four year project. I can't even start photographing that until it's done. "

DURST-PRO-USA:
" So what are your plans in the future, with photography? Are you planning to keep photograph bridges or do you have other plans? "

Dave Frieder:
" It's hard to say. I still like doing landscape when I can. I guess at this point I'd say once I get the bridge project done, maybe I'll move on to other bridges, in other countries, or just the United States. Bridges are just really fascinating structures. No building can come close to a suspension bridge. The way they're designed, the way they're built. But right now I'm just so involved with this particular project that it's hard to say what the future will bring. "

DURST-PRO-USA:
" How many times, and what kinds of TV stations have featured you? "

Dave Frieder:
" NBC local, local CBS, TLC which is world wide, the metro of the New York Times, Bergen Record, Phototechnique, Shutterbug, a few engineering firms have used my work; ENR, Engineering News Record, put some of my work in for the reconstruction of the Williamsburg Bridge. I've been in a lot of periodicals and engineering newsletters. "

DURST-PRO-USA:
" Do you have a count on those? "

Dave Frieder:
" It's hard to say, if you look at the listing I gave you, you can get a brief idea. I've been on a lot of New Jersey stations too. New Jersey News had me in an article. "

DURST-PRO-USA:
" Did you say the New York Times featured you? "

Dave Frieder:
" Yes, in their metro section, so it was local only. Actually it goes to other areas because it was sent to Texas. The Dallas Morning News had the same article. "

DURST-PRO-USA:
" Are you represented by any Galleries? "

Dave Frieder:
" Actually I just sold three photographs to a gallery called Dannett Koke Gallery, but these aren't Bridge Photos, these are my other works. One was, Morning Sunrise: Death Valley Monument, Close up of Dogwood, and Aspen. Lately I have been selling very well of my New York Skyline series. "

DURST-PRO-USA:
" How much of your income is derived from photography? "

Dave Frieder:
" Maybe 10% or less. "

DURST-PRO-USA:
" How much of your spending is going to photography? "

Dave Frieder:
" Right now probably 25 to 30%. It was a lot more, but now that I'm a self employed contractor it has been a lot less. "

DURST-PRO-USA:
" Why did you buy a Durst Enlarger? "

Dave Frieder:
" I saw the Durst add in View Camera Magazine. The different models looked really nice. The features they have, I thought, "Wow! For this price I feel this is what I should get." I couldn't afford new, totally new, and with the features it turned out to have, it was a perfect package. "

DURST-PRO-USA:
" You had a little trouble in the beginning? "

Dave Frieder:
" With? "

DURST-PRO-USA:
" With getting the exposures right! "

Dave Frieder:
" Well, what I was doing was instead of burning in with exposure time, I was burning in with "White-light" time. I hit "White-light" button and it wasn't regulating. Now when I burn in, I just set for a longer time period. If my exposure is 10 secs and I know I'm going to burn for 12 seconds I just set the timer for 22 secs. "

DURST-PRO-USA:
" How has your experience been with DURST-PRO-USA Inc.? "

Dave Frieder:
" Very good. The enlarger worked like a champ. I'm very impressed with it. I've had it for over a year and I haven't had to change one bulb yet. Every exposure is perfect. I am very impressed. "

Dave Frieder is living and working as a construction worker in New Jersey. He hopes to be able to work full time as a Fine Art Photographer sometime in the future.

Interview by Emily Sparks and Dahungnva Honanie.

Dave is using a Durst L1840 with a DL2500 Digital Color Dichro head supplied by DURST-PRO-USA Inc.