Friedlander is a tough one for me. Looking at his work reminds me of when I first saw a Jackson Pollock drip painintg in person and thinking to myself, "I am supposed to like this. Everything I have read tells me how important it is".
It took a few years to realize I liked his work not because of some great new vision or aesthetic he brought to art, but simply because I liked the way some of the pictures made me feel when I seriously looked at them.
So with Friedlander I am in the same boat. I know he is an improtant figure in contemporary photography, but I am not yet to the point where I personally feel any real connection with the work.
However, the neat thing about this forum is it provides me an opportunity to listen to others and take another more critical look at a photographers work.
In the images presented I will admit that there is something interesting about the third image. the desolation, the long shadows and thin gauntness presented by the verticle elements provides an impact to the image.
Someone mentioned meticulous composition. I notice in this one how carefully he made sure almost exact amounts of the posts and shadows are in the image so a certain static balance is there. Of course a photograph freezes time, but that image makes me feel that if I was standing on that corner, time would literally stop. Maybe another analogy for those old enough to remember the show, it looks like it could be the opening shot from an original Twilight Zone episode.
One quick aside. It's kind of funny how recent experience can mold ones thinking. When looking at the third image I noticed the two posts that cross each other. First thing those posts reminded me of was a person. I think that was due to recently being at the Art Institute of Chicago and seeing the Alberto Giacometti sculptures that have a resemblence with thier stick figure style. Go figure.