As a pre-teen Friedman rode skateboards in the embanked schoolyards of West Los Angeles along with others that would revolutionize the activity. Whilst in junior high school, in late 1976, Friedman corralled some of his friends, who were beginning to be featured in magazines, into riding in an empty swimming pool so he could make pictures. He showed the results to a freelance SkateBoarder writer, who put Friedman in touch with the editor. SkateBoarder published photographs by Friedman as a full-page subscription advertisement. He soon after became their youngest staff member.Several years later Friedman began to photograph at punk shows. Black Flag received some of their first media documentation through Friedman's work. In 1981, he photographed his first record album cover, Adolescents by Adolescents. As well as many other punk record covers including Minor Threat's Salad Days EP. Friedman's self-published punk zine, My Rules: Photozine (1982), sold 10,000 copies and was the largest selling zine of the era.
Friedman managed punk band Suicidal Tendencies and in 1983 produced their eponymous debut album. In 1985, Friedman was introduced to Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons, after creating some memorable Beastie Boysphotos, before they were widely known. Friedman began working with them and their newly formed Def Jam Records, promoting Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Ice-T and Run-DMC. He also photographed many of their album covers and publicity materials, including the covers of Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, and Beastie Boys' Check Your Head. Many of his photographs have become recognized as the subjects' definitive portraits. In 1987 he relocated back to New York.
Glen E. Friedman’s work has appeared in countless publications and exhibitions and is part of permanent collections, including those at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., among others. Shepard Fairey is a graphic designer. C. R. Stecyk III is the founder of Juxtapoz magazine. Henry Rollins is a musician and writer. Chuck D is a rap artist and activist. Tony Alva is a world-renowned skateboarder. Ian Mackaye is a musician and record label owner. Rick Rubin is an award-winning record producer. Adam Horovitz is a musician.
© Glen E. Friedman / Burning Flag