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The Americans

Frank, Robert (Book - 2008)
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Americans
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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.
Authors: Frank, Robert, 1924-
Uniform Title: AmeĢricains. English
Title: The Americans
Publisher: Germany : Steidl, 2008.
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) :,photographs ;,19 x 22 cm.
Local Note: 15 53 102 118
ISBN: 9783865215840
386521584X
Statement of Responsibility: photographs by Robert Frank ; introduction by Jack Kerouac
Subject Headings: United States Social life and customs 1945-1970 Pictorial works. United States Pictorial works.
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I couldn't disagree with pvdl more!

Robert Frank's The Americans (along with the free-wheeling yet eloquent forward by Jack Kerouac) has aged very well. It is an incredibly important work of art that has profoundly affected the way we look at photography today.

It's also beautiful to look at, with delightfully composed, contemplative and downright poetic images on every page.

To quote Kerouac in the forward...

"Anybody doesn't like these pitchers don't like potry, see? Anybody don't like potry go home see Television shots of big hatted cowboys being tolerated by kind horses."

I guess that settles that.

Nov 14, 2013
  • JerryMann rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

pvdl, with such a close-minded comment, has no business commenting on a monologue such as this in this forum. It only speaks to their misunderstanding of how photography can be used as an art and a tool for cultural comment and change. "The Americans" won widespread acclaim from those who study the history of photography,and other critics. If you, the user of the library, are hoping for a glorified view of Us Americans, look elsewhere. This is an unflinchingly raw comment on post-war American life.

Jun 22, 2012
  • ryanschoebdc rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

America in the 1950's. Segregated, depressed, raw. These pictures are just a few of the many taken on a year long road trip across the US. One of the 1st great American street photography books and photographers. A must "read" for EVERY photographer. I cannot imagine the thought that went into looking over 700+ rolls of film!

Apr 29, 2010
  • pvdl rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Most of these poorly focused and poorly composed photos have little general interest.

The foreword by Jack Kerouac has not held up well over the past 60 years.

This book is mostly an example of how not to be a street photographer.

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