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The Present Tense


Shopping With: Douglas Friedman

October 05, 2018
By: Aaron Peasley

There is only one Douglas Friedman. The New York born photographer has captured some of the world’s most remarkable interiors and architecture projects for titles such as AD, Elle Decor, Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar.

Nomadic by nature, Friedman travels the world (just take a peek at his unmissable Instagram @thefacinator) with an unerring eye for the indelible. While travels are unlikely to slow down, Friedman has spent the last several years creating a one-of-a-kind ranch in the remote outpost of Marfa, Texas. With his typical brand of wit, the newly official Texan resident talks about his latest adventures and selects his favorites from the world of The Future Perfect.

On his TFP selects:

Isn't it obvious why I love the Liquefy table...that color is hypnotic!

I feel in love with these Sculptural chairs on a shoot in Mexico. There's something so primitive and sexy about them.

This chandelier is so bananas...and I can imagine it anywhere and everywhere.

It's such an unusual material for this object; and that alone makes it terribly interesting to me.

I've already decorated the guest bedrooms with these table lamps and that's why I like them.

This chair needs to be in West Texas. It screams West Texas.


Where are you right now?

On my way to Marfa, Texas with a truck full of trees that are ready to be planted.

Tell us about your new house in Marfa.

It’s been a trip! Everything out there is coming together, which is very exciting. The pool is incredible. Every step of the journey it just gets more and more interesting.

What drew you to Marfa?

I don’t know. I must have had a stroke or something; it’s this strange force that just sort of sucks you in. But Marfa is so rewarding. The sky is straight out of the movie Giant - it’s so big and the clouds are so puffy. It has given me the freedom and curiosity to throw everything I have into this project. I’m officially a Texas resident.


Your work is very versatile - you’ve shot a lot of portraits, fashion and celebrities in the past. What made you gravitate to interiors?

Shooting interiors is what I’ve always done and I was sort of reluctantly pulled into portraiture and fashion. Working in interiors and architecture is a bit more peaceful and solitary; it’s more meditative. In other realms of photography there’s so many people involved. This is what makes me happy and it’s been the most satisfying and gratifying path to take. I love going to work every day.

How do you develop intimacy and trust with your subjects, those whose houses you shoot?

If it’s a celebrity, for instance, you’re connecting with them over something that they love and they’re not necessarily the center of attention, they’re almost removed from the equation. It’s nice to connect with someone over something that stands in between the two of you.

Have you shot something that you’ve absolutely been overwhelmed by?

It happens. There have been a couple of shoots recently and I’ve walked in with my jaw dropping. There was a shoot recently in Miami that made my head spin. You’re like a kid in a candy store. Those are the experiences that don’t happen often.


Is there an interior that really stands out for you?

That’s tough; it’s like asking me what’s my favorite song or something. It’s always changing and evolving. Thinking back, I spent four unforgettable days with Agustín Hernández in Mexico shooting some of the most incredible homes in Mexico City and I thought ‘I can’t believe I have this assignment.’ It was so fascinating and unique. Some more intimate spaces also really resonate. Some homes have the most spectacular art collections and some of them have views that are unparalleled. There are other times where you can’t put your finger on it - they have some kind of intangible quality that just makes it so memorable.

How has shooting interiors impacted your own approach to shooting your own interiors?

There have been so many homes I’ve fallen in love with and so many ideas I’ve wanted to take with me. I’ve had specific ideas and none of it has ever transpired, but they’ve turned into broad ideas (as opposed to specific design cues). Building this house in the West Texas desert - everything I’ve done there is completely informed by the clouds and the sky and the snakes and the dust.

Judging by your Instagram, you’re constantly traveling! Where has stood out recently?

It was the wildest summer. I’ve been spending a lot of time in Amsterdam. I toured through Iceland, which was spectacular - snowmobiling over glaciers. I also love Berlin, which has this incredible youth culture that’s not dictated by money or fame. It’s wildly refreshing compared to some of the other cities I’ve lived in.
Instagram @thefacinator