“The Americans” — Images With An Impact   5 comments

RF.A.004.jpg“Funeral — St. Helena, South Carolina” (1955), from Robert Frank’s book The Americans — Source: The New York Times

Rodeo — New York City, 1954 (from The Americans) -- Robert Frank

Rodeo — New York City, 1954 (from The Americans) — Robert Frank

I love photography, therefore I read about photography and photographers. One photographer that many feel changed the world of photography is Robert Frank. The book that had this kind of impact on photography was The Americans. Published in 1959, the book of photos taken from trips across America in the mid-fifties.

Not highly thought of in the beginning, because they were not the  idyllic images Americans were used to seeing in popular magazines — Popular Photography magazine derided Mr. Frank’s black-and-white pictures of isolated individuals, teenage couples and groups at funerals for their “meaningless blur, grain, muddy exposures, drunken horizons and general sloppiness” (NY Times), but in the sixties his photos began to influence other photographers to take socially conscious material.

Over fifty years later the images in The Americans remain very topical. “I’m very proud of this book because I followed my intuition,” Frank said in an interview for a New York Times article (December 12, 2008) on a comprehensive publication, “Looking In: Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans,’ ” that was to go with a major exhibition in Washington at the National Gallery of Art in January, 2009.

“It’s tempting to draw associations between Mr. Frank’s trips and Jack Kerouac’s novel “On the Road,” another cultural artifact from the period, which came out two years before “The Americans.” Kerouac wrote the introduction to “The Americans,” but the two men did not meet until after Mr. Frank’s journey.

Still, Mr. Frank’s picture of a man at the wheel taken from the passenger seat of the car, “U.S. 91, Leaving Blackfoot, Idaho,” might well double for a portrait of the characters in “On the Road.” He was quick, however, to dismiss that association, remembering the men simply as “hitchhikers I picked up,” adding, “We were going to Butte, I think.” (Snapshots from the American Road, by Philip Gefter, NY Times)

kenne

Source: juicycanvas.com

Source: juicycanvas.com

5 responses to ““The Americans” — Images With An Impact

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  1. Nice, Kenne. Haven’t thought about Kerouac for a while. And I’m not sure that kind of road trip is even possible these days. Something like Blue Highways may be as close as we can come.

    Like

  2. This raw and real based photography transports me to different places and times, I love it, thanks for posting Victor

    Like

  3. I meant to check the boxes below sorry

    Like

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