Ordinary people, doing ordinary things…
In 1954, Robert Frank set off across the United States in a used Ford with his Leica camera. He had the idea of photographing America as it unfolded before his eyes. He spent two years on the journey, shooting 767 rolls of film, for over 28,000 shots.
83 of those shots would end up in the book “The Americans”.
The Americans was first published in 1959, and it took the photography world by storm. The images were honest and gritty, and most of all raw. It was a masterwork of street photography.
Initially, it did not go over well. America was high on the post war 1950’s. Images showing that not everyone in the country had achieved the “American Dream” were not what the public was shouting for. The book went out of publication after only 1100 being printed.
History has been kinder. The Americans has seen several reprints, and few photo books have had as large an influence on contemporary photography.
Frank would go on to make fifty documentary films, but he never abandoned still photography.
Robert Frank died on Monday; he was 94.