Artist Statements

'THE LOST YEARS' – 

I've been working on a series called The Lost Years for the past 6 years which documents the years that most adults cannot remember, before the age of seven. A child-development major, I spent many years as a nanny & I had an intimate access to the times the children are most in their own heads unaware of my presence. Studying the children has made me aware of how fragile my own memories are.

On a personal level, remembering fragments of my life before the age of seven is very frustrating. My aunt walking into our Bronx apartment as I was dealing with triangle shaped tomatoes with an egg on my plate is one of my memories from age four. Why did my mother give me tomatoes?! "She knows I don’t like tomatoes!" Was this shape supposed to entice me?

Looking out through the crib bars into my grandmother’s Bronx apartment and seeing where the chair and alcove were. I don’t know how old I was but I was all alone sitting there.

I look at photographs of myself before seven and see how happy I was and wish I could remember those times. What I remember is the verbal abuse that started when I was five and turned physical when I was about 10. Does the mind remember sad times more than happy times? Was I posing for the camera with a smile? What was real?

Documenting children in The Lost Years is a way of healing for me. I hope to document these moments so when the children are adults and wonder about their lives before they can remember them...they can look at these images and get a peek into the truest times of their lives. 
 
'BLIZZARD JONAS' -

A mixed media documentary series of the Blizzard that hit New York City January 2016. The city was basically shut down and people walked freely in streets. This work speaks to the beauty of the calm of isolated space in what could have appeared as chaos. I photographed images off of the CNN coverage on TV zooming past the reporters to make my own story of what I saw.

A little more of the story: Even though I had been out of the business for years, working as one of the first female broadcast engineers in Los Angeles TV news gave me a nose for news.

So when Blizzard Jonas was being broadcast on CNN as the
blizzard of the century, I was naturally hooked by the headline!

Nevermind that I had been an Angeleno for decades - once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker!

So with my Android phone sitting on an orange couch in a sunny Southern California suburb, I shot the news coverage... but with my own take on what was being broadcast.

CNN warned people to stay inside to avoid one of the worst blizzards to hit New York since the late 1800's. But reporters and many pedestrians went about their business as if it were just another day.

Roads were closed and people walked freely. What a testament to the grit and independence of New Yorkers!

As I zoomed past the TV reporters, I cropped away at the image instantly recreating the solitary, almost apocalyptic,
barren landscape that the city seemed to reflect.  In other
cases, people were just plain having fun.

Choosing b&w over the color footage is intentional as this takes me back to the early years of b&w television in the 1960’s when I was a child.

(self-published book available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Blizzard-Jonas-York-City-2016/dp/1367355982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478449667&sr=8-1&keywords=laurie+freitag)


SHORT BIO FOR PRESS:

Not much talking went on at the dinner table when I was growing up in New York. 'Children should be seen and not heard' was the norm. I became the observer in a 2-family house that housed 6 children.
 
They couldn't stop me, though, from looking, so my eyes became a camera.
 
When asked what I wanted for my birthday or holidays I always asked for one thing. A camera and 10 rolls of film.
I never got it.
 
I finally bought myself a camera when I left home at 18 years old.
 
I have been told that I make some people uncomfortable with my gaze. I believe I learned that from my mother who, after waiting for me to be born after 5 years, never took her eyes off of me! Children do learn by imitation and that gaze became part of my behavior. That gaze got me into trouble in grade school as I stared curiously at the tough kids - taking in all their differences. This “staring” problem had repercussions and I remember my mother having to go to school on my behalf on 4 separate occasions. This was years before I started asking for a camera.
 
An artist that I recently met made the comment that 
my eye was so practiced by the time I started shooting
because "looking" was my way of communication. 

Latest accomplishments include being listed in Your Daily Photograph (2019), Recognized Your Favorite Photograph/2018 Lenscratch online group show, 10th anniversary issue Fraction Magazine (2018), the Los Angeles Center of Photography "The Creative Portrait" exhibition :Juror: Ann M. Jastrab/(2017),
Honorable Mention in the 12th Annual Spider Awards in the Children of the World category. I was included in the Griffin Museum of Photography’s 23rd Juried Exhibition online exhibition web & digital slideshow/Main Gallery :Juror: Hamidah Glasgow.
I also participated in Lenscratch/online Group Show/Earth Day and have been featured in Your Daily Photograph 4x. 

I've exhibited at the Neutra Gallery, Silver Lake, CA (the B&W group show), the Los Angeles Art Association/Gallery 825 "Open Show": Juror: Jen Inacio, Pérez Art Museum Miami,  "Adorn": Juror: Sarah Russin, Executive Dir., Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), "Aurora": Juror: LAAA Exhibition Committee, Los Angeles, CA, & "Cultural Excavation" :Juror: Elizabeth James, Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles, CA.

I also took first place (2013) Women in Photography International,
Juror: Daniel Miller/Duncan Miller Gallery & exhibited in the Robert Berman Gallery/ Lucie Foundation for the "Month of Photography" in Santa Monica, CA.

I'm also the owner/founder of L.A. Photo Curator and N.Y. Photo Curator which offers opportunities for all levels of photographers to have their work seen online in international competitions with reviews by various curators for first place winners. Twenty per cent of all artist fees goes to charity.