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Robert Frank Photography


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Robert Frank | London & Walesposted by doug on 2010.05.19, under Books, Film, Photography, Quotes

19:Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.

-Robert Frank

London 1952-53, Robert Frank

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London 1951, Robert Frank

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London 1952-53 © Robert Frank

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Caerau, Wales 1953 © Robert Frank

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London 1951-52 © Robert Frank

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London 1952 -53 © Robert Frank

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London 1951-52 © Robert Frank

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Ben James and His Wife, Wales 1953 © Robert Frank

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Ben James, Wales 1953 © Robert Frank

Robert Frank | Los Angelesposted by doug on 2009.12.28, under Books, Film, Los Angeles, Photography, Quotes

28:To live for two months in LA is like being hospitalized.

-Robert Frank, February 27, 1956; from a letter to Walker Evans, while Frank was applying for a continuance of his Guggenheim grant.

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Los Angeles, 1956, Robert Frank

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Los Angeles, 1956, Robert Frank

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Los Angeles, 1956, Robert Frank

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St. Francis, Gas Station and City Hall – Los Angeles, 1956, Robert Frank

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Ranch market, Hollywood, California, Robert Frank

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Motorama, Los Angeles, California, Robert Frank

Robert Frank | New Yorker Article on “The Americans”posted by doug on 2009.09.17, under Books, Film, Photography

17:There is an excellent article in the September 14th issue of the New Yorker, detailing Robert Frank’s journey across the States and a review of the book

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Looking In: Robert Frank’s “The Americans.”

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Rodeo, New York City, 1954, Robert Frank "The Americans"

Anthony Lane writes in the article:It had been a year, more or less, since he embarked, and there was much to reflect upon. Luckily, he’d taken a few photographs along the way.In fact, he took around twenty-seven thousand. There were more than seven hundred and sixty rolls of film to develop: an impressive tally, even to snap-happy profligates of the digital age. Then there were contact sheets to print and mark up; from those, he made a thousand work prints, which were tacked to the walls of his apartment on Third Avenue, near Tenth Street, or laid flat on the floor for closer inspection, before being whittled down to a hundred. The final count, from all those months on the road, was eighty-three pictures: enough for a slim book, which was published in November, 1958, in Paris, as “Les Américains,” and here, in January, 1960, as “The Americans.” For his pains, Frank was paid two hundred dollars in advance, a sum that rose to just over eight hundred and seventeen dollars by the end of the year. By then, the book was out of print.

The original book from 1959:

Robert Frank ‘The Americans’ New York: Grove Press 1959

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Trolley, New Orleans, 1955, Robert Frank "The Americans"

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Parade, Hoboken, New Jersey, 1955, Robert Frank "The Americans"

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Indianapolis, 1955, Robert Frank "The Americans"

Additional contact sheets from the hardcover edition of “Looking In”:

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proof sheets from Looking In: Robert Frank's " The Americans "

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Looking In: Robert Frank’s “The Americans”posted by doug on 2009.09.05, under Books, Film, Photography, Quotes

05:September 22, 2009 through January 3, 2010, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be hosting the exhibit,Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans. Organized by the National Gallery of Art, the exhibit has traveled from DC to San Francisco, ending in New York. The new exhibit and book are a celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Americans, one of the most influential single series of photographs ever published. The exhibit will feature all 83 photos from the book that were made on his cross-country road trip from 1955-56.On Friday, October 9th, Robert Frank will be appearing in conversation with the curators and organizers of this presentation at the Met. Do not miss this, as Frank does not make many public appearances these days. Purchase tickets here. I already have mine and am sure it will sell out soon.Whether you attend or not, purchase the book right now. The expanded hardcover features 83 pages of contact sheets which are a treasure unto themselves (the softcover is an abridged version and does not offer all of the contact sheets.) I have had the book for two weeks and have barely made a dent in it because of the richness offered and the lessons to be learned. The Americans and Robert Frank’s body of work were already inestimable contributions and as familiar as I am with those 83 images, I am stunned by how little I understood the skill and remarkable taste Frank had in his choices, the sequencing of the images, cropping and yes, even grant writing (the original letters are included.)It is truly an eye-opening experience into how complete his talents are and how the mix of of them achieved a perfect balance with The Americans.The one thing I will share is the tiniest snippet of a lesson I am absorbing. The shot of the elevator girl in Miami Beach has always been a favorite of mine. Below is an excerpt from the contact sheet with that image on it. You can see Frank working the situation and the idea over 14 frames.Cartier-Bresson once said of contact sheets:

My contact sheets may be compared to the way you drive a nail in a plank. First you give several light taps to build up a rhythm and align the nail with the wood. Then, much more quickly, and with as few

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strokes as possible, you hit the nail forcefully on the head and drive it in.

Elevator, Miami Beach, 1955, Robert Frank

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Excerpt from contact sheet from the book: Looking In: Robert Frank’s “The