Robert Frank : The Americans

What a poem this is, what poems can be written about this book of pictures some day… Jack Kerouac

Original Front Cover

Indianapolis 1956

Belle Isle 1955

Drugstore Detroit 1955

Funeral—St. Helena, South Carolina, 1955

Parade—Hoboken, New Jersey, 1955

First published in France in 1958, and in the United States in 1959, Robert Frank’s book ‘The Americans’ changed the course of 20th century photography and helped the nation see itself more clearly. In 83 photographs, Frank looked beneath the surface of American life to reveal a people often plagued by racism, ill served by their politicians, and rendered numb by a rapidly expanding consumer culture. Yet he also found new areas of beauty in overlooked corners of the country and in the process helped redefine the icons of America. In his photographs of diners, cars and even the road itself, Frank pioneered a seemingly intuitive immediate, off-kilter style that was as innovative as his subjects Also groundbreaking was the way he tightly sequenced his photographs in ‘The Americans’ linking them thematically, conceptually, formally and linguistically to present a haunting picture of mid-century America. More an ode or poem than a literal document, ‘The Americans’ is as powerful and provocative today as it was 50 years ago.[extract : National Gallery of Art, Washington]

“with the agility, mystery, genius, sadness,, and strange secrecy of a shadow photographed scenes that have never been seen before on film … The humor, the sadness, the EVERYTHING-ness and American-ness of these pictures!” Jack Kerouac

Robert Frank’s : The Americans

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