photograph from carTexas, 2006, from the series “America by Car,” 1995-2009. Photo: Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.

Our mode of transportation shapes our experience of the world. When you move on foot, you interact with people — Sarah showed as much in her tribute to Brooklyn street life the other day. And when you drive, a glass-and-steel barrier separates you from the landscape.

“Lee Friedlander: America by Car,” a new series by the accomplished photographer at New York’s Whitney Museum, portrays that phenomenon with striking effect:

Mr. Friedlander took his black-and-white, square-format photographs entirely from the interior of standard rental cars — late-model Toyotas and Chevys, by the looks of them — on various road trips over the past 15 years. In these pictures our vast, diverse country is buffered by molded plastic dashboards and miniaturized in side-view mirrors.

… Cars distance people from one another, this series reminds us over and over.

…He did drive through the Rust Belt, passing factories in Akron, Ohio, and houses in Cleveland … but in almost every case the car is a kind of shield that deflects empathy.

Many more photos at the museum’s website.

(h/t Jonna McKone)