The Americans - Robert Frank For the last year or two Jack Kerouac's writings, and now the On The Road movie have been intertwined into my wikipedia late night surfing addiction. After a road trip across the country I read On the Road, and then The Dharma Bums - [good reads]. I watched his biography, and then after a little more research I found the work his friends at the same time, photos, writings etc that all depicts the same 1950s intrepid american history.
One thing lead to the next and through a little history of photography self-study this winter I came across Robert Frank's work, which I first found online, and then amazon's single click checkout later his book ended up in my mailbox.
"After seeing these pictures you end up finally not knowing any more whether a jukebox is sadder than a coffin. That's because he's always taking pictures of jukeboxes and coffins - and intermediary mysteries."
The photographs are haunting, and honest, and the lack of colour and the romanticism of time itself make them all that more appealing.
The combination essay, and anthology of photos is what I liked most of this book. A set context and interpretation by someone else - closer in time and place to the photos themselves, to echo or question your own interpretation of them.
These are a collection of my favourite photographs:
I also enjoy really like the sequencing of the next five shots. In putting all of my owntravel work together into something cohesive I've been picking up on these subtleties I might have missed before.
I like The Americans because it covers though not all Americans by any means but a sampling enough to get a feel. It is an ethnography in a sense - a comment on culture, of a time period. The captions give enough context without ruining the air of silent mystery from the photos, and of course I enjoyed nomadic nature of the photos themselves.
"To Robert Frank I give this message: You've got eyes." - Jack Kerouac
[ The Americans On Amazon]