Glen E. Friedman

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Glen E. Friedman
Glen E. Friedman by Brett Ratner.jpg
Born Glen Ellis Friedman
(1962-03-03) March 3, 1962 (age 55)
North Carolina
Nationality American
Known for Photography

Glen E. Friedman (born March 3, 1962) is an American photographer[1] and artist.

Friedman has photographed rebellious artists Fugazi,[2] Black Flag,[2] Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, Minor Threat, Misfits, Bad Brains, Beastie Boys,[2] Run-D.M.C.,[2] KRS-One, and Public Enemy,[2] as well as classic skateboarding originators Tony Alva,[2] Jay Adams,[2] Alan Gelfand, Duane Peters, and Stacy Peralta. Although this work is documentary by association, he considers the work to be fine art photography, which his most recent work exhibits more obviously.[3]

Friedman's photography has been published in six of his books as well as in other publications, on record covers,[2][4] and has been exhibited in art galleries and museums.[2] His work is held in the photography collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City,[5] and Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.[6] He has been inducted as an "Icon" into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame.[7][8]

Friedman is a progressive political activist, shuns intoxicants (straight edge), and follows a strict vegan diet.[9][10] He lives in New York City.[3]


As a child Friedman skateboarded in the West Los Angeles schoolyards of Santa Monica, California. Whilst in junior high school,[3] in the fall of 1976, Friedman corralled some of his friends, who were beginning to be featured in magazines, into riding in an empty swimming pool so he could take pictures. He showed the results to a freelance SkateBoarder writer, who put Friedman in touch with the editor. SkateBoarder published photographs by Friedman as a full-page subscription advertisement. He soon after became their youngest staff member.[3]

Several years later Friedman began to photograph at punk shows. Black Flag received some of their first media documentation through Friedman's work.[11] In 1981 he photographed his first record album cover, Adolescents by Adolescents.[12] Friedman's first, self-published punk zine, My Rules: Photozine (1982), sold 10,000 copies and was the largest selling zine of the era.[citation needed]

Friedman managed punk band Suicidal Tendencies[2][4] and in 1983 produced their eponymous debut album.[4]

In 1985 Friedman was introduced to Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons, after creating some memorable Beastie Boys photos, before they were widely known. Friedman began working with them and their newly formed Def Jam Records, promoting Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy,[4] Ice T and Run-DMC.[2] He also shot their publicity material and album covers,[4] including the covers of Beastie Boys’ Check Your Head,[13] Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and Minor Threat’s Salad Days. Many of his photographs have become recognized as the subjects' definitive portraits.[14] In 1987 he relocated back to New York.

Friedman has collaborated with artist Shepard Fairey, many times, including limited edition prints based on Friedman's photographs.[15][16]

In 2004 Friedman created the "Liberty Street Protest" at Ground Zero in New York City. Its provocative anti-war sentiment received attention internationally. It was "re-visited" in 2010 in support of Freedom of Religion, and the placement of a mosque a few blocks away from Ground Zero in New York City.[17]

In 2012 Friedman was inducted as an "Icon" into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame.[7][8]


Publications by Friedman[edit]

  • My Rules: Photozine. Self-published, 1982.
  • Fuck You Heroes: Glen E. Friedman photographs 1976–1991. Self-published / Burning Flags, 1994. ISBN 0-9641916-0-1. A collection of his more well known photographs of skateboarding, punk, and hip hop subcultures spanning 1976 to 1991.
  • Fuck You Too, The Extras & More Scrapbook. ConSafos, 1996, updated 2005. ISBN 0-9656535-0-1.
  • The Idealist
    • The Idealist: Glen E. Friedman – In My Eyes – 20 Years. ConSafos, 1998. ISBN 978-0965653541.
    • The Idealist: Glen E. Friedman – In My Eyes – 25 Years (1976–2001). Self-published / Burning Flags, 2003. ISBN 978-0-9641916-5-5. Revised edition.
  • Dogtown: The Legend of the Z-Boys. Self-published / Burning Flags, 2000. ISBN 0-9641916-4-4. By C.R. Stecyk III and Friedman.
  • Recognize. Self-published / Burning Flags, 2005. ISBN 0-9641916-6-0.
  • Keep Your Eyes Open: The Fugazi Photographs of Glen E. Friedman. Self-published / Burning Flags, 2007. ISBN 0-9641916-8-7.
  • My Rules. Rizzoli, 2014. ISBN 0847843556. A different publication to the 1982 publication of the same name.

Publications with significant contributions by Friedman[edit]

Films with contributions by Friedman[edit]

Major solo exhibitions[edit]

  • Fuck You All, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 1997; Sydney, 1998; Tokyo, 1998; Rome, 1998; Florence, 1998; Milan, 1998; Berlin, 1999; Stockholm, 1999; Chicago, 1999; Washington, D.C., 2000; Philadelphia, 2000; Stockholm, 2000; Los Angeles, 2002; Antwerp, Belgium, 2007; Krakow, Poland, 2009; Dublin, 2010; San Francisco, 2010;[18] Canary Islands, Spain, 2014.
  • The Idealist, Los Angeles, 2004
  • Idealist Propaganda, Subliminal Projects, Los Angeles.[19] Retrospective exhibition.
  • My Rules, ATP Gallery at 14 Henrietta St, London, 21 November 2014 – 18 January 2015.[20]


Friedman's work is held in the following public collections:

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[21]
  • 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." – Keith Hamm, Los Angeles Times.[22]
  • "The most prolific photographer of his generation." – American Institute of Graphic Arts[23]
  • "The esoteric political and aesthetic conscience of his generation." – Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine[24]
  • "His [cloud] photos achieve what so many others only aspire to—they show the spiritual within the physical." – Adam Beinash, LA Weekly[25]
  • "Outspoken, individual, and the very best at what he does...It's time Friedman was listed alongside Capa, Bresson, and Avedon." - Candy Culture[26]


  1. ^ Child, Ben (8 June 2011). "Banksy documentary no hoax, Thierry Guetta lawsuit suggests". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Cooper, Leonie. "Glen E Friedman: playing by his own rules". Dazed. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Glen E. Friedman. "Official Biography". Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Fox, Killian (29 November 2014). "Beats, punks and stunts: the photography of Glen E Friedman". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Metropolitan Museum of Art". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Newly Acquired Glen E. Friedman Photographs Capture the Searing Energy of the Nascent Hardcore and Skateboarding Scenes". 
  7. ^ a b "2012 Skateboarding Hall of Fame Induction". Transworld Business. May 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Skateboarding Hall of Fame 2012 Inductees". 
  9. ^ "Glen E. Friedman". Herbivore Magazine. Fall 2003. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. 
  10. ^ "“If it’s not your life then get the fuck out” – A Chat with Glen E. Friedman (2010)". American Suburb X. November 8, 2010. Retrieved May 8, 2016. 
  11. ^ Fuck You Heroes Introduction by C.R. Stecyk III
  12. ^ "The Adolescents", Artistdirect. Accessed 13 June 2015.
  13. ^ Kellner, Amy (1 January 2013). "Behind the Cover Photo: On Digging Up a Super-Rare Shot of Adam Yauch". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  14. ^ Warp magazine, February 1995 – Glen E. Friedman – Photos from the Edge by Ian Christie.
  15. ^ Fairey, Shepard. "Rollins 81". Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  16. ^ Fairey, Shepard. "Keith Morris Prints". 
  17. ^ Harshbarger, Rebecca (August 25, 2010). "Rap mogul's 'paned' plea for tolerance". New York Post. 
  18. ^ "Photo Ireland Festival, Photo Ireland
  19. ^ Weiss, Jeff (December 14, 2008). "Idealist Propaganda: The Raw Power of Glen E. Friedman". LA Weekly. 
  20. ^ Fox, Killian (29 November 2014). "Glen E Friedman's photographs from the births of hip-hop and hardcore punk – in pictures". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  21. ^ Fuck You Heroes Quote from book flap written by Henry Rollins
  22. ^ Hamm, Keith (November 21, 2002). "It's All About Attitude". Los Angeles Times. 
  23. ^ American Institute of Graphic Arts 2004
  24. ^ Juxtapoz, December 2003.
  25. ^ LA Weekly, April 26, 2006 – Clouds' Illusions by Adam Beinash.
  26. ^ Candy Culture 2006 interview by Aiden Kelly.

External links[edit]