Lee Friedlander: Galax, Virginia, 1962
October 19, 2020
By the time this photograph was taken by Lee Friedlander in 1962, television had become a ubiquitous presence not only in American homes, but in the public sphere as well, playing in restaurants and bars across the country. The television depicted here was almost assuredly a complementary feature presented to Friedlander in this modest motel room in Galax, Virginia, the gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Motels were at their peak in the 1960s thanks to the popularity of car travel, indeed the word "motel" derives from a contraction of "motor hotel". Friedlander’s picture of his motel room, lit by the flicker of the TV screen, neatly sums up a great deal about the era, as well as the life of an itinerant photographer.