First published in France in 1958, then the United States in 1959, Robert Frank's The Americans changed the course of twentieth-century photography. In eighty-three photographs, Frank looked beneath the surface of American life to reveal a people plagued by racism, ill-served by their politicians, and rendered numb by a rapidly expanding culture of consumption. Yet he also found novel areas of beauty in simple, overlooked corners of American life. And it was not just his subject matter cars, jukeboxes, and even the road ...
First published in France in 1958, then the United States in 1959, Robert Frank's The Americans changed the course of twentieth-century photography. In eighty-three photographs, Frank looked beneath the surface of American life to reveal a people plagued by racism, ill-served by their politicians, and rendered numb by a rapidly expanding culture of consumption. Yet he also found novel areas of beauty in simple, overlooked corners of American life. And it was not just his subject matter cars, jukeboxes, and even the road itself that redefined the icons of America; it was also his seemingly intuitive, immediate, off-kilter style, as well as his method of brilliantly linking his photographs together thematically, conceptually, formally, and linguistically, that made The Americans so innovative. More of an ode or a poem than a literal document, the book is as powerful and provocative today as it was fifty-five years ago.
New. 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. Originally published in 1958, 'The Americans' was part of a series of books that presented foreign countries through words and pictures. Frank personally supervised this latest edition that features a new cover as well as digitally enhanced images.
Fine in fine dust jacket. (FRANK, ROBERT). Frank, Robert. Introduction by Jack Kerouac. ROBERT FRANK: THE AMERICANS. Zurich, SWITZERLAND. 1993 (2000). : Scalo, Fourth Scalo Edition. Oblong Small 4to. Boards in Dust Jacket. Photography Monograph. Fine/Fine. 180pp, profusely illustrated in b&w. Text in English. 1958's "The Americans" is the iconic book that established transplanted Swiss photographer/filmmaker Robert Frank's reputation as one of the great socially conscious post-war essayists. Combined with Jack Kerouac's legendary in your face introduction ("Anybody doesnt like these pitchers dont like potry, see? "), Frank's images reveal an emerging cold war superpower wrestling with its past as it hurtles toward a decade of tumultuous change. A brand new, pristine example of the fourth Scalo printing (whose 1959 first edition is cited on page 247 of Martin Parr and Gerry Badger's "The Photobook: A History Volume I", pages 176-177 of The Hasselblad Center's "The Open Book", page 32 of "From Fair to Fine: 20th Century Photography Books That Matter", page 42 of "From Fair to Fine 2", and pages 150-151 of "The Book of 101 Books"). PLEASE NOTE: Additional shipping costs are required for this item beyond our standard rates due to its weight-we will inform you of the applicable amount at time of purchase. 3-931141-80-2 Inventory Number: 015915.
Eventhough all art comes down to a simple "like it" or "don't like it", great art has an additional bonus: you can appreciate the impact it has, even if you "don't like it", long after the first publication date.
"The Americans" was not an instant success. It had to be published in France with a vivid introduction by Jack Kerouac, to be appreciated back in the States. But as soon as it was known, it was considered a Bible for all the young photographers.
Robert Frank arrived in the U.S.A.in the fifties, from Europe, on a Guggenheim scholarship and he went on photographing America for quite some time, before concluding to the specific order of photos, from the enormous stock of photos he had gathered.
Many things have been said and written about it, but some facts are generally accepted: the unique way he uses his camera, (many vertical shots, the tilted subjects, the poor quality of the photos-technical wise, etc),and his desicion to use such photos (instead of others with better quality ) and in a specific order so that he can develop a narrative.
Eventhough there are various photography books about America, this was (and still is) a fresh way to look at things and at the same time a powerful artistic statement with universal appeal.
Many assumptions have been made about his new way of seeing America. Maybe it was because he was originally from Europe, or perhaps that he was into cinema as well or, even, his turbulent personal life. Probably all at the same time.
A genuine artist with a body of work to back this up. This is his masterpiece and the beginning of the quite revolution in the way of seeing things through a lens.
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