The Americans by Robert Frank Photo Exhibit at SFMOMA Thru Aug 23

SFMOMA celebrates the 50th anniversary of beat photographer Robert Frank's book, The Americans with an exhibit of the original 83 photographs. First published in 1959, the book features photographs Frank took while traveling around the United States in the mid-50's. Robert Frank is widely regarded as the most important voice in photography of the post-WW II era. Frank is famous for portraying America's changing icons like cars, diners, gas stations and their inherent profound lack of humanity.

Robert Frank's noted book, The Americans (1958)

Frank had a loose and casual style. Compositions often were blurred or out of focus with tilted horizon lines. Frank wanted to shine light on the commercialism of America. Born in Switzerland in 1924, he immigrated to the US in 1947. Frank arrived with optimistic ideas of American life and culture, but later felt disappointed by what he came to see as a bleak and lonely place, overly concerned with money.

Image by Robert Frank

Robert Frank was one of the finest to document the beat subculture of the 50's. He reflected the tensions of the times contrasted by the prevalent glossy commercialism. Beat writer Jack Kerouac contributed the introduction the US edition of The Americans.

Image by Robert Frank

Robert Frank is also a film maker famous for the scathing 1972 documentary of the band the Rolling Stones. Mick Jagger of the Stones threatened to sue to prevent the film from being shown in the United States stating "...we'll never be allowed in the country again", due to the depravity of the behavior depicted on it. The argument finally settled out of court.

Photographer Robert Frank by Barry Kornbluh

"When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice." Robert Frank, LIFE magazine, November 1951.

"The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will be exhibiting Frank's work through August 23rd.

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Filed under: Photo Events July 14, 2009
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