The Americans - Robert Frank, Jack Kerouac

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.

Jack Kerouac opens the introduction to The Americans which is a collection of photos by Robert Frank.

"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.

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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:

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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.

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 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]