Robert Frank

Robert Frank emigrated to America in 1947. He was given a grant later after becoming a photographer, from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1955, not without thanks to who was apparently his major artistic influence, photographer Walker Evans. Over the next two years, accompanied by his family for part of the time, Frank traveled on road trips all over America. Some of the cities he visited were Detroit, Savannah, Miami, Louisiana, Houston, Butte, Las Angeles, and Chicago. During his two years on the road, Frank took over 28,000 pictures. Out of this 28,000 he went on to publish only 83 in what became his most notable work, a book called The Americans.

Frank was passionate about “ documenting the tensions between optimism of the 1950’s and the realities of class and racial differences.” Robert Frank found irony in American culture that he portrayed in his pictures, this gave them an obvious sense of contrast in comparison to most contemporary American photojournalists. His use of low lighting, and odd focus and cropping set his pictures apart as well due to his straying from accepted photography techniques.

When Robert Frank started his series of America he was optimistic about the culture and society of the United States. However, his view changed as he found  that the American life was fast paced and obsessed with money. He started to see America as a quite lonely and often bleak place. This perspective and his opinions of what America was, come through in his pictures as a dark, and somewhat cold portrait of America.

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