One of my favorite mementos from my days at the old Cray Research is a photo book of supercomputing photographs by Lee Friedlander. Featuring amazing shots of people building supercomputers, the book was given to all Cray employees in celebration of the company’s 15th anniversary.
Now the Cantor Art Center at Stanford University is planning an exhibition from the book. Rarely seen in its entirety, the show includes 79 works by this artist lauded for his straight-forward documentation of ordinary things.
The Cray project was a logical extension of Friedlander’s past street photography and his scenes of people hard at work in factories and data-entry centers. It includes a range of subjects shot in Friedlander’s characteristic style: sober images of shop fronts and empty streets, views of the landscape and underbrush surrounding Chippewa Falls and close-up shots of workers. In many of the Cray photographs, he focused on the women performing fine-motor tasks such as installing the complex wiring inside a massive supercomputer. Interestingly, Cray founder Seymour Cray selected these women for their dexterity and talent in weaving and other fabric crafts.
The exhibition opens at the Cantor Arts Center on March 27 and continues on view through June 16.