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RIP Robert Frank - Age 94
Posted by: HouseBoyKnows ()
Date: September 10, 2019 16:04

The man has an incredible record of artistic achievement but is famous to all of us as the man behind the Exile cover art and the infamous film chronicle of the 1972 tour, "CS Blues"

Link to NY Times story (may need subscription to access)

[www.nytimes.com]

HBK



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 2019-09-18 11:51 by bv.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: dcba ()
Date: September 10, 2019 17:03

Damn... the last giant of photography is gone. confused smiley

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: schillid ()
Date: September 10, 2019 18:06

R.I.P. Robert Frank

A legend.

Jin Ming

...

.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-09-10 21:21 by schillid.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: schillid ()
Date: September 10, 2019 18:07



[www.artsy.net]

Why Robert Frank’s “The Americans” Matters Today
by Scott Indrisek

In his proposal to the Guggenheim Foundation in 1954 for the project that would become the seminal monograph The Americans, photographer Robert Frank wrote: “‘The photographing of America’ is a large order—read at all literally, the phrase would be an absurdity.” The “total production” of such a project, he added, would be “voluminous.” He wasn’t lying: Frank would end up shooting around 27,000 images on his journey across the country, which would be condensed into a classic set of 83 black-and-white photographs.

In 1955, with funding secured to support his goals, Frank, who had immigrated to the United States from Switzerland towards the end of the previous decade, set off with his 35mm Leica camera in a Ford Business Coupe. It would prove a very productive trip, during which he’d capture the images for a monograph that would have seismic effects on art and culture.

That volume—published in France in 1958, followed by the U.S. in 1959, the latter with an introduction by Jack Kerouac—is now roughly 60 years old (Frank himself is 93). While today it has become a lodestar for serious photographers, at its release, the haunting portrait of the United States was harshly received, and even treated with disdain by critics.

Before embarking on the trip that would lead to The Americans, Frank worked as a commercial photographer, shooting for magazines like Harper’s Bazaar. He befriended heavyweights like Walker Evans, and had his work included in the pivotal 1955 Museum of Modern Art photo survey, “The Family of Man.” But he wanted something more. “He had some disenchantment with the commercial aspect,” said Bernard Yenelouis, alumni and research coordinator at the International Center of Photography in New York. “Part of the work he did with The Americans was working against the craft he was very steeped in.”

Frank was also driven to create a publication that would work as a self-contained book. “The desire to publish his photographs in a book was always something that was in the back of his head,” said Sarah Greenough, senior curator of photography at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., who organized a massive exhibition at the museum dedicated to The Americans in 2008. “Although he had an occasional photograph published in LIFE, he never had a photo story published. That was one of the things he wanted to do the most.” The iconic magazine turned him down “time and time again,” Greenough explained. Undeterred, Frank aimed to go his own way, to produce a story that rivaled those published in LIFE, “but not be like them. [To] be something different.”

It’s hard to stress how different The Americans was. Over the course of those 83 pictures—shot from Detroit to San Francisco to Chattanooga, Tennessee—Frank captured the country in images that were intentionally unglamorous. On a technical level, he brazenly tossed out an adherence to traditional ideas of composition, framing, focus, and exposure.

“Some of the images are very underexposed, some are overexposed, which led to different graphic styles: an excess of grain, a lack of shadow detail,” said Yenelouis. A shot of a bar in New York City features a lit-up jukebox glowing almost demonically. A photograph that purports to capture a parade in Hoboken, New Jersey, focuses instead on two onlookers watching from their apartment windows, one of their faces obscured by a windblown American flag.

While publications like LIFE and LOOK were favorites of aspiring photographers, Greenough noted, they didn’t jive with what Frank would end up undertaking. Those popular magazines generally presented “a quite wholesome image of American life: mom, apple pie, two cars in every garage,” she said. “And Frank’s vision was decidedly that of an outsider, of someone who was looking beneath the surface.”

What ultimately made The Americans a document with real staying power? “Frank revealed a people who were plagued by racism, ill-served by their politicians, and also rendered increasingly numb by the rising culture of consumerism,” Greenough noted. “But it’s also important to point out that he found new areas of beauty in those simple, overlooked corners of American life—in diners, or on the street. He pioneered a whole new subject matter that we [now] define as icons: cars, jukeboxes, even the road itself. All of these things, coupled with his style—which is seemingly intuitive, immediate, and off-kilter—were radically new at the time.”

While the 83 images that made the final cut indeed have a certain effortless ease, Frank’s process involved prolific photographing and editing. “Whenever Frank went into a new town,” Greenough said, “he tried to find one or two objects or scenes that for him symbolized that place.” That doesn’t mean he was cozying up to the diner counter and getting to know the locals. “You don’t get the sense that he’s really talking with people,” Greenough added—but rather drifting in the background, shooting in hotel lobbies and bars, at funerals and political rallies and outside auto factories.

Occasionally, a pair of back-to-back photographs rhyme with each other explicitly—an image of a car in California, covered by a tarp, followed by the body of a car-accident victim in Arizona, covered by a blanket—but in general, the flow of The Americans is unpredictable. It skitters from wealthy, fur-wearing senior citizens in a Miami Beach hotel to cowboy wannabes in New Mexico, gamblers in Nevada, or motorcycle toughs in New York.

Greenough pinpoints the unique mixture of influences informing Frank’s method, who had befriended Beat poet icons like Allen Ginsberg. “Frank is both sort of a quintessential Beat artist—responding immediately and intuitively to the world, seeming to live in a very disorganized, chaotic environment—he’s also fundamentally Swiss, too,” she said, alluding to the calm rationality of Frank’s home country. “Beneath what looks like chaos, there’s often a lot of order to his life.” In order to give himself some boundaries, Greenough explained, Frank set out seeking specific types of pictures—of flags, politicians, or cars, for instance.

It’s incredibly difficult to pick a single, indelible image in The Americans, especially since the series was conceived as a unit with its own rhythm and logic. But certain images do jump out. A shot taken in San Francisco is especially striking: In it, we see the city, hazy in the background, with an African-American couple lying on the lawn in the foreground. Both members of the couple stare Frank down, seemingly displeased that he’s snapping their picture without permission. Greenough said that this shot is actually one of Frank’s favorites from the book, one that “distinctly expresses that reaction that a photographer can provoke in his subjects.” (She added that Frank’s contact sheets from the day demonstrate, amusingly, how he swiftly pretended to be snapping pictures of other things nearby, perhaps to allay the couple’s suspicions.)

Everywhere, though, we find evidence of Frank’s counterintuitive genius. A photograph taken at a Hollywood movie premiere places the ostensible starlet out-of-focus, so that our eye is instead trained on the ordinary men and women on the wrong side of the proverbial velvet rope. A shot of a department store in Lincoln, Nebraska, captures a sad array of ornamental crosses and flowers, with a quietly heartbreaking sign: “Hested’s—Remember Your Loved Ones—69¢.” Elsewhere, harsh economic realities (and disparities) come into focus, as in an almost abject image of a shoe-shine stand inside a men’s restroom in Memphis, Tennessee.

Ultimately, The Americans changed the game for American photographers and other artists. “Frank influenced Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander,” Greenough noted, as well as Joel Meyerowitz and the painter Ed Ruscha. “You could actually say he fostered a whole generation of what we’ve come to know as ‘street photographers’ in the 1960s and ’70s. But younger photographers, younger people, still respond very positively to The Americans—because they see this ruthless, but also very passionate, vision that Frank applied to his work.” As it turns 60, this pivotal photo series indeed still retains its fearless, idiosyncratic strangeness. No single photographer could ever capture the enormity of the United States, but Frank’s efforts have certainly inspired many to try.



.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: schillid ()
Date: September 10, 2019 18:11

The day I met Robert Frank
NYC, March 14, 2019


© schillid

.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: dmay ()
Date: September 10, 2019 18:20

A great photographer and documentarian. I have "The Americans" in various forms. As the article notes, still a relevant look at the people and culture of the U-S-of A. I'm astonished that he has the pocket size Olympus Stylus camera in his hand in the photo above. I have the same camera. Its great for just walking around and taking photos. I use it for street photography which I would guess is part of Frank used it for. RIP, Mister Frank.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: dcba ()
Date: September 10, 2019 18:59

"Americans are funny people. First you shock them then they put you in a museum".

That Jean Cocteau quote Mick made early 1989 works for the stones... and works tenfold for Frank!

"he has the pocket size Olympus Stylus camera"
Isn't that a Mju II film camera?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-09-10 19:06 by dcba.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: angee ()
Date: September 10, 2019 19:03

Thanks for the article, schillid.
Do you want to say more about the day you met him? Please do.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Love is strong..."


byTeafoe

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: Hairball ()
Date: September 10, 2019 20:10

thumbs up

Quote
schillid
The day I met Robert Frank
NYC, March 14, 2019


© schillid

RIP Robert Frank.

--------------------------------
"Rip this joint, gonna save your soul..."

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: MisterDDDD ()
Date: September 10, 2019 20:20

Very, very, cool schillid!

The thread that keeps on giving... cool smiley
[iorr.org]

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: TheGreek ()
Date: September 10, 2019 21:07

R.I.P.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: nick ()
Date: September 11, 2019 04:29

Quote
MisterDDDD
Very, very, cool schillid!

The thread that keeps on giving... cool smiley
[iorr.org]

That and the "Deluxe Bonus" albums thread [iorr.org] has laid down an old school IORR vibe in here the past 24hrs.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: SKILLS ()
Date: September 11, 2019 05:01

Honour the man and release the film, even though it's out there, i've had a good copy for years, I want it official, lets face it, it would reboot the EOMS era

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: Rip This ()
Date: September 11, 2019 05:27

[www.thedailybeast.com]

“It's a @#$%& good film, Robert, but if it shows in America we'll never be allowed in the country again.”
— Mick Jagger

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: 24FPS ()
Date: September 11, 2019 07:57

Quote
dmay
A great photographer and documentarian. I have "The Americans" in various forms. As the article notes, still a relevant look at the people and culture of the U-S-of A. I'm astonished that he has the pocket size Olympus Stylus camera in his hand in the photo above. I have the same camera. Its great for just walking around and taking photos. I use it for street photography which I would guess is part of Frank used it for. RIP, Mister Frank.

My Olympus C-740 Ultra Zoom delivers as good a photos as my Honeywell Pentax SLR. I had to quit the SLR. It was like a brick around my neck, and I have spurs there. It has a great lens. I think it's as much the photographer, as it is the camera. You either have an eye, or you don't.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: schillid ()
Date: September 11, 2019 16:52

.

.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-09-18 18:58 by schillid.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: schillid ()
Date: September 11, 2019 18:29

.

.



Edited 22 time(s). Last edit at 2019-09-19 18:44 by schillid.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: Nate ()
Date: September 11, 2019 20:56

Quote
24FPS
Quote
dmay
A great photographer and documentarian. I have "The Americans" in various forms. As the article notes, still a relevant look at the people and culture of the U-S-of A. I'm astonished that he has the pocket size Olympus Stylus camera in his hand in the photo above. I have the same camera. Its great for just walking around and taking photos. I use it for street photography which I would guess is part of Frank used it for. RIP, Mister Frank.

My Olympus C-740 Ultra Zoom delivers as good a photos as my Honeywell Pentax SLR. I had to quit the SLR. It was like a brick around my neck, and I have spurs there. It has a great lens. I think it's as much the photographer, as it is the camera. You either have an eye, or you don't.

That is so true you can own all the best equipment money can buy but if you don’t have an eye then forget it.

Nate

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: schillid ()
Date: September 11, 2019 22:09


Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: schillid ()
Date: September 17, 2019 20:11


© schillid



Robert Frank signed my book "March 14, 1919".
I pointed at what he had written and said, "Mr. Frank, you got the century wrong!" and we both chuckled.

.



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 2019-09-18 02:08 by schillid.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: cyoe ()
Date: September 17, 2019 22:08

Schillid, would you be willing to share "Exile on 42nd Street"? I am working on the history of four album covers from Beggars Banquet through Exile. One of my tasks has been to try to identify or at least describe everyone on the cover and all the other photos. MY email is cyoe1@verizon.net I'd be happy to share what I have so far, but that article is not yet written.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: schillid ()
Date: September 17, 2019 22:20

Exile on 42nd Street not available at this time.

.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-09-18 00:56 by schillid.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: TravelinMan ()
Date: September 18, 2019 02:12

I didn’t realize he recently passed. Coincidently I finally read the STP book and finished it yesterday.

I had to find pictures of all the zany characters like Frank, Chip Monck, and Peter Rudge to see if they looked like the images I created of them.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: jlowe ()
Date: September 18, 2019 11:47

I wonder if the current position regarding the showing of the 1972 tour film will now change?
Another one for the Lawyers, probably.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: dcba ()
Date: September 18, 2019 12:08

Quote
jlowe
I wonder if the current position regarding the showing of the 1972 tour film will now change?
Another one for the Lawyers, probably.

I think it's done and dusted. Mick owns the rights to the film. He also physically owns all the material shot by Frank in 72 : the dozens of 16mm reels lie (forever?) at the band's vault.
Out of courtesy and respect for this great artist Mick let him show the film on selected occasions. Now that Frank's dead it's safe to think the deal's dead.

Reminder : about 10 years ago when Frank curated a comprehensive (incl.Cs Blues) film collection on DVD for the German publisher steidl Mick heard of this and he quickly dropped his army of lawyers on steidl.
The final, commercially released, Frank film collection was missing Cs Blues.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: RobberBride ()
Date: September 18, 2019 12:11

Quote
schillid
Exile on 42nd Street not available at this time.

Hey Schillid, please drop me a line smiling smiley My mail is open. RB

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: schillid ()
Date: September 19, 2019 16:24

By March I had become obsessed. It was fairly easy to find his NYC address. I pressed the doorbell button a couple times and was about to pass my note through the mail slot and go home, when a woman's voice asked on the intercom, "Who is it?"

"I have information about a photograph that Robert Frank took a long time ago," I said into the little speaker. After a few seconds, the lock on the sidewalk door buzzed and I pulled open the big steel door. I stepped inside and found myself standing at the bottom of a long dark stairway in a pile of junk mail and menus, where my note to Robert would have landed if I had put it through the mail slot.

Robert Frank's wife, June Leaf, appeared up on the second floor landing and I waved the printout that I had prepared... the one that I call "Exile on 42nd Street" that identifies the freaks and performers. I called up the stairs to her, explaining it again. "Robert's home..." she said. "You can come up and talk to him.” As I climbed the steep steel stairway, she stood cautiously near the door to their apartment. When I got to the landing, I turned the corner and saw Robert Frank sitting at a table by the front window.

"Thank you for inviting me in," I said. "It is such a huge honor to meet Robert and yourself."

"Spare us the starstruck hero worship bullshit," she said.

"What I mean is that Robert Frank has been an inspiration to so many people ... artists and photographers, including me."

I sat down and showed them my research. First I showed it to June, then I handed the paper to Robert: a printout of his famous photo that was used for the cover of Exile On Main Street -- overlaid with the freaks' and performers' names as I have posted earlier. They studied it. June Leaf explained to her husband what he was looking at. "That's the Rolling Stones album cover shot that you took -- " she looked over towards me.

“ -- at Hubert's Dime Museum on Forty-Second Street. Nineteen-Fifty-eight," I finished her sentence.

"So," she said, "the designer is really the person who put up all the pitch cards and photos in the lobby of Hubert's Museum. And who is that?"

"Exactly what I've been wondering!" I replied excitedly.

"Why are you doing this?" she asked me.

"Uh... too much time on my hands?" I said.

"You know that's not a good answer," she said as she left the room to answer a phone that was ringing in another room. She was right, of course.

He sat at a small wood table wearing a t-shirt and a bathrobe. The bookshelves behind him were crammed with books.
From the window next to the table overlooking Bleecker Street, you could see The Bowery, right where CBGB once stood. Robert handed me some 8" x 10" photos that he had been looking at when I arrived. "My son ... he died," he said softly.

"I know... I'm sorry." I said. Robert Frank looked very much like an old man of 94 years.

"And what do you want from me?" he asked me.

"Only that you look at this... I think you will find it interesting." I replied. "Oh... And that you please sign my copy of your book. And my Rolling Stones album."

When I looked at what he had written, I saw that he had signed my book "March 14, 1919". I pointed out what he had written and said, "Mr. Frank, you got the century wrong!" and we both chuckled.

.



Edited 15 time(s). Last edit at 2019-09-20 20:26 by schillid.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: schillid ()
Date: September 19, 2019 16:43

.

.



Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 2019-09-20 20:26 by schillid.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: schillid ()
Date: September 19, 2019 16:58



.



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 2019-09-20 20:18 by schillid.

Re: Robert Frank Age 94: RIP
Posted by: MisterDDDD ()
Date: September 19, 2019 17:34

Fantastic story and a good read, schillid.

In all seriousness this whole thread would make for a great magazine piece or short story.
Great work.

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