Glen E. Friedman

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Glen E. Friedman
Glen E Friedman photographing Lance Mountain 2014.jpg
Glen E. Friedman, photographing Lance Mountain, 2014
Born Glen Ellis Friedman
(1962-03-03) March 3, 1962 (age 53)
North Carolina
Nationality American
Known for Photography

Glen E. Friedman (born March 3, 1962) is an American photographer and artist.

Coming to prominence in the 1980s with his photography of skateboarders and musicians, Friedman is considered one of the most important photographers of his generation.[1][2][3][4][5] He is perhaps best known for his work promoting rebellious artists such as Fugazi, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, Minor Threat, Misfits, Bad Brains, Beastie Boys, Run-D.M.C., KRS-One, and Public Enemy, as well as classic skateboarding originators such as Tony Alva, Jay Adams, Alan Gelfand, Duane Peters, and Stacy Peralta. Although this work is documentary by association, he considers the work more in the realm of fine art photography. His most recent works exhibit this leaning more obviously.[6]

Friedman's photography has been seen in international publications for more than thirty years, on record covers for over twenty five years, and has been exhibited in art galleries and museums worldwide for over ten years.[6] Original prints of his work are in the photography collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City,[7] the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive,[8] the Photographic History Collection of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., as well as the permanent collection of the Experience Music Project Museum in Seattle, Washington, and private collections globally.[6] Six hardcover books have been published documenting his various subjects of interest.

Friedman is a progressive political activist, shuns intoxicants (straight edge), and follows a strict vegan diet.[9] He married in 2007 (since divorced), had his first child in the same year, and lives in New York City.[6]

In May 2012 Glen E. Friedman was inducted as an "Icon" into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame.[10]


Friedman's childhood was largely spent skateboarding in the West Los Angeles schoolyards of the area called "Dogtown". His friends were beginning to be featured in magazines, but he felt the images failed to capture skating's true essence. Though still in junior high school, he thought he could do better.[6]

In the fall of 1976, Friedman discovered an empty pool, and corralled a few friends into riding it so he could take pictures. He showed the results to a freelance SkateBoarder writer he met on the local schoolyard embankments (the most popular place for skateboard riding at the time), who put the eighth-grader in touch with the editor. They published the first photos Glen submitted as a full-page subscription ad. He soon after became their youngest staff member.[6]

Several years later Friedman began to shoot the punk shows he was attending. Punks such as Black Flag and others received some of their first national and international media documentation through Friedman's work.[11]

Learning a strong work ethic from the self-promoters in Black Flag, Friedman started working with the younger brother of an old DogTown friends' band, got them a record deal, managed the band, and produced their first album. This band was Suicidal Tendencies, and that album became the largest selling punk album of the 1980s.[11]

By the mid eighties Friedman was working with Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons and their newly formed Def Jam Records, promoting groups such as Run-DMC and Public Enemy, continuing his dedication to popularizing rebel youth attitude.[11]

In the nineties to the present day Friedman has concentrated on publishing his books, selling his prints to serious collectors, and promoting those lifestyles that continue to inspire radical youth culture and rebels of all ages.[6][12]

In recent years, his work has become recognized by museums and institutions of higher learning, as part of their permanent collections.[6] He has also collaborated with artist Shepard Fairey, to create limited edition prints of some of his images.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19]

Time line[edit]

  • 1976 – At fourteen years old Glen E. Friedman shoots his first published photograph.[6]
  • 1981 – Shoots his first record album cover for The Adolescents on the Frontier label.[20]
  • 1982 – Friedman self-published his punk "photo-zine" My Rules. It sold 10,000 copies and was the largest selling 'zine of the era.[21]
  • 1983 – Friedman produced Suicidal Tendencies eponymous debut album, which became the biggest selling hardcore punk album of the decade.[6]
  • 1985 – Friedman is first introduced to Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons, after creating some memorable Beastie Boys photos, before they were widely known. By 1986 Friedman was photographing all the Def Jam artists and relocated back to New York in 1987. His early documentation of Run-DMC, Public Enemy, Ice-T, L.L. Cool J and the Beastie Boys brought hip hop to a wider audience.
  • 1990 – By this time Friedman's work had achieved fame as record covers for many of the 80's decade finest in hip hop and punk. Many of his photographs are recognized as the subjects' definitive portraits.[22]
  • 1994Fuck You Heroes is published, a collection of his more well known work spanning 1976 to 1991. Fuck You Heroes looked at the pioneering leaders of the skateboarding, punk, and hip hop subcultures. Its title signifies his subjects' heroic rejection of reactionary social standards.[6]
  • 1996 – His second book, Fuck You Too: The Extras & More, is published by ConSafos press.
  • 1997Fuck You All exhibition is first shown, bringing Friedman's work to major cities around the world. Starting at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, then on to Sydney, Tokyo, Rome, Florence, Milan, Berlin, Stockholm, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Antwerp, Belgium, Krakow, Poland, and by 2010 Dublin, Ireland and San Francisco.[23]
  • 1998The Idealist is published, the artistic summation of his photography. Diverging greatly from his other books. This title was revised in 2003 to include an additional five years (The Idealist – In My Eyes – 25 Years).
  • 2000DogTown-The Legend of the Z-Boys, is published, and co-authored with long-time friend and mentor C.R. Stecyk III.
  • 2002 – Friedman's film credit, co-producer and creative consultant, barely touch on the major influence he had on the feature-length documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, which won audience choice award for Best Documentary at Sundance and many other awards at film festivals worldwide.[24]
  • 2004 – Friedman created the "Liberty Street Protest" for millions from around the world to see at Ground Zero in New York City. Its provocative anti-war sentiment received attention internationally.[25]
  • 2005 – His artistic treatise, Recognize is published.
  • 2007 – Friedman released Keep Your Eyes Open, a collection of his best photographs of the band Fugazi.
  • 2008 – First major retrospective exhibition of Frideman's work is shown, at Shepard Fairey's Subliminal Projects gallery in Los Angeles.[26]
  • 2009 – Original prints of his work placed in the Photographic History Collection of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.
  • 2010 – Original prints of his work added to the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.[7] As well The "Liberty Street Protest" was "re-visited" in support of Freedom of Religion, and the placement of a mosque a few blocks away from Ground Zero in New York City.[27]
  • 2011 – Six, 30"x40" prints of his work added to the collection of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, California.[8]
  • 2012 – Officially inducted as an "Icon" into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame.[10]

Quotes about Friedman[edit]

  • "The bottom line is that he was there at the beginning of so much cool stuff in so many different areas it's not funny." – Henry Rollins[28]
  • Friedman says about his work, "For me it’s about inspiring people, with integrity and rebelliousness.” To which, Keith Hamm of the Los Angeles Times said, "For the past quarter century, Friedman has been doing just that." – [12]
  • "One of the greats of his generation." – The Washington Post[2]
  • "The most prolific photographer of his generation." – American Institute of Graphic Arts[29]
  • "The esoteric political and aesthetic conscience of his generation." – Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine[30]
  • "Outspoken, individual, and the very best at what he does...It's time Friedman was listed alongside Capa, Bresson, and Avedon." – Candy Culture[31]
  • "His [cloud] photos achieve what so many others only aspire to—they show the spiritual within the physical." – Adam Beinash, LA Weekly[32]

Friedman's books[edit]

Books and exhibitions with significant Friedman contributions (partial listing)[edit]


  1. ^ "''sixspace gallery''". August 29, 1999. Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Washington Post, May 21, 2000 – Here & Now – Art – By Pete L. Zanko.
  3. ^ "Tisch School of the Arts, New York University". Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Photo Ireland Festival Programme". 
  5. ^ Kane, Siobhán (July 8, 2010). "Glen E Friedman – Let The Kids Shoot Them Now". Thumped. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Official Biography". Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Metropolitan Museum of Art". Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Newly Acquired Glen E. Friedman Photographs Capture the Searing Energy of the Nascent Hardcore and Skateboarding Scenes". 
  9. ^ "Glen E. Friedman". Herbivore Magazine. Fall 2003 
  10. ^ a b "2012 SKATEBOARDING HALL OF FAME INDUCTION". Transworld Business. May 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c Fuck You Heroes Introduction by C.R. Stecyk III
  12. ^ a b Hamm, Keith (November 21, 2002). "It's All About Attitude". Los Angeles Times. 
  13. ^ "Tony Alva Blue – The Giant: The Definitive Obey Giant Site". The Giant. July 8, 2009. Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Public Enemy Print – The Giant: The Definitive Obey Giant Site". The Giant. April 8, 2009. Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Bad Brains 2 – The Giant: The Definitive Obey Giant Site". The Giant. Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Jim Muir – The Giant: The Definitive Obey Giant Site". The Giant. Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Cornel West – The Giant: The Definitive Obey Giant Site". The Giant. Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Rollins 81". Obey Giant. Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Keith Morris Prints". 
  20. ^, ArtistDirect Album credits
  21. ^, review
  22. ^ Warp magazine, February 1995 – Glen E. Friedman – Photos from the Edge by Ian Christie.
  23. ^ "Photo Ireland Festival, Photo Ireland Website
  24. ^ Juice magazine, Dogtown Chronicles, Fall 2002
  25. ^ Time Out magazine, Sept. 2–9, 2004
  26. ^ Weiss, Jeff (December 14, 2008). "Idealist Propaganda: The Raw Power of Glen E. Friedman". LA Weekly. 
  27. ^ Harshbarger, Rebecca (August 25, 2010). "Rap mogul's 'paned' plea for tolerance". New York Post. 
  28. ^ Fuck You Heroes Quote from book flap written by Henry Rollins
  29. ^ AIGA website 2004
  30. ^ Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine, December 2003.
  31. ^ Candy Culture, Dublin, Ireland 2006.
  32. ^ L.A. Weekly, April 26, 2006 – Clouds' Illusions by Adam Beinash.

External links[edit]