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The Americans by Robert Frank
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The Americans

by Robert Frank

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Showing 5 of 5
from the introduction by jack kerouac, says more than my measly brain could generate about the feel of these black and white gems, originally published in 1958 (my edition of this book was published in 2000):

"That crazy feeling in America when the sun is hot on the streets and the music comes out of the jukebox or from a nearby funeral, that's what Robert Frank has captured in tremendous photographs taken as he traveled on the road around practically forty-eight states in an old used car (on Guggenheim Fellowship) and with the agility, mystery, genius, sadness and strange secrecy of a shadow photographed scenes that have never been seen before on film."

yikes.
  msteketee | Aug 17, 2009 |
The Americans captures American life in a raw, seemingly unedited state. Robert Frank and his camera traveled the country in 1955 and 1956 and captured the variety of life found within its borders. Like Jack Kerouac notes in the Introduction he wrote, each photograph is like a poem. There is no overt meaning to most photos, it's simply life, left up to the reader to draw conclusions. I like this most about Frank, he lets his readers figure out the pictures for themselves. Titles are simple - stating just a location generally. The rest is up to the viewer.
These 83 photographs capture the chasm that was, and still is, found in America. The wealthy contrasted against the poor. The increasing role of technology in the American culture contrasted with vast deserted lands. Frank captured it all.
This is a wonderful book, beautifully printed, that everyone should look through at least one. But really, it deserves several read throughs, as each time new insights can be gleaned. Required reading for anyone interested in American culture, politics, class studies, economics, and art. ( )
  ironicqueery | Mar 31, 2009 |
photography ( )
  feministgeek | Mar 8, 2007 |
Critically acclaimed and for good reason. If you only ever buy 10 photography monographs The Americans must be among them. ( )
  mhtaylor | Jan 27, 2007 |
States during 1955 and 1956. The photographs he brought back form a portrait of the country at the time and hint at its future. He saw the hope of the future in the faces of a couple at city hall in Reno, Nevada, and the despair of the present in a grimy roofscape. He saw the roiling racial tension, glamour, and beauty, and, perhaps because Frank himself was on the road, he was particularly attuned to Americans' love for cars. Funeral-goers lean against a shiny sedan, lovers kiss on a beach blanket in front of their parked car, young boys perch in the back seat at a drive-in movie. A sports car under a drop cloth is framed by two California palm trees; on the next page, a blanket is draped over a car accident victim's body in Arizona.
Robert Frank's Americans reappear 40 years after they were initially published in this exquisite volume by Scalo. Each photograph (there are more than 80 of them) stands alone on a page, while the caption information is included at the back of the book, allowing viewers an unfettered look at the images. Jack Kerouac's original introduction, commissioned when the photographer showed the writer his work while sitting on a sidewalk one night outside of a party, provides the only accompanying text. Kerouac's words add narrative dimension to Frank's imagery while in turn the photographs themselves perfectly illustrate the writer's own work ( )
1 vote addict | Nov 15, 2006 |
Showing 5 of 5
[Frank] wanted to portray "the kind of civilization born here and spreading elsewhere." And he succeeded not only in recording how the country looked but in capturing its essence, so that The Americans still seems like an accurate portrait of how it feels to live here.
added by Shortride | editHarper's Magazine, Francine Prose (pay site) (Jan 1, 2010)
 
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 386521584X, Hardcover)

Armed with a camera and a fresh cache of film and bankrolled by a Guggenheim Foundation grant, Robert Frank crisscrossed the United States during 1955 and 1956. The photographs he brought back form a portrait of the country at the time and hint at its future. He saw the hope of the future in the faces of a couple at city hall in Reno, Nevada, and the despair of the present in a grimy roofscape. He saw the roiling racial tension, glamour, and beauty, and, perhaps because Frank himself was on the road, he was particularly attuned to Americans' love for cars. Funeral-goers lean against a shiny sedan, lovers kiss on a beach blanket in front of their parked car, young boys perch in the back seat at a drive-in movie. A sports car under a drop cloth is framed by two California palm trees; on the next page, a blanket is draped over a car accident victim's body in Arizona.

Robert Frank's Americans reappear 40 years after they were initially published in this exquisite volume by Scalo. Each photograph (there are more than 80 of them) stands alone on a page, while the caption information is included at the back of the book, allowing viewers an unfettered look at the images. Jack Kerouac's original introduction, commissioned when the photographer showed the writer his work while sitting on a sidewalk one night outside of a party, provides the only accompanying text. Kerouac's words add narrative dimension to Frank's imagery while in turn the photographs themselves perfectly illustrate the writer's own work.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:35 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

From the Publisher: In 1958, the first edition of Robert Frank's The Americans was published in Paris. Les Americains contained Frank's 83 photographs in the same sequence as all subsequent editions, with the image on the right hand page, but juxtaposed with historical texts about American society and politics, gathered by Alain Bosquet. The following year, in the first American edition, the French texts were removed and an introduction by Jack Kerouac was added. Over the subsequent 50 years, The Americans has been republished in many editions, in numerous languages, with a variety of cover designs and even in a range of sizes. It is the most famous photography book ever published, and it changed the face of the medium forever. Robert Frank discussed with his publisher, Gerhard Steidl, the idea of producing a new edition using modern scanning and the finest tritone printing. The starting point was to bring original prints from New York to Gottingen, Germany, where Steidl is based. In July 2007, Frank visited Gottingen. A new format for the book was worked out and new typography selected. A new cover was designed and Frank chose the book cloth, foil for embossing and the endpaper. Most significantly, as he has done for every edition of The Americans, Frank changed the cropping of many of the photographs, usually including more information. Two images were changed completely from the original 1958 and 1959 editions.… (more)

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