For Robert Frank The Americans was not a literal piece but a poem. It was poetic, political and personal all at the same time, Frank redefined photography and in particular social documentary photography in this 50 years plus masterpiece.
The book was first published in France in 1958 as no American publisher wanted to touch it. The following year it was published in America with an introductory text by Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation poet. In Kerouac's own words: Frank... sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film, taking rank among the tragic poets of the world."
Robert Frank pictures are of normal people, scenes you might encounter anywhere at any time. They summed up the American life-style in a way that no one had seen it before.
In Robert Frank The Americans, Frank challenged photography entirely. It was no longer about beautiful landscapes or women draped in the latest fashion. It was about reality itself, whether ugly or beautiful. In Charleston, South Carolina we observe the hypocrisy of a nation that treats black people as unequal to white but considers them good enough to look after their children.
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