Robert Frank

2648 words 11 pages
Robert Frank - The Americans

Early History:

Robert Frank was born on November 9, 1924 in Zurich, Switzerland. He is best known for his documentary photography book The Americans however he has released additional books and documentary films as well.

Robert Frank was raised into a wealthy Jewish family, his father of German decent and a photographer as well, and a Swiss mother coming from money. In an interview that Frank gave to the NY Times, he stated, ‘‘My father married my mother because of money. It became the most important thing in order for them to feel good. If my father had a good day, dinner would end and my father would take out his wallet and give my mother 100 Swiss francs." (DAWIDOFF)

At the time of
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He experienced incarceration and interrogation (because he was foreign and at the height of the cold war), the internal heat and pollution of factory culture, and brashness of the American diner experience. All of these events helped shape the book.

To take a step back and reflect on this though, Robert Frank at the age of 31, took himself, his wife, and his young family on a journey across the country to document life here visually. Even the prospect of doing this now would be looked at as abstract and Avant-Garde, but to have done it then, and under these precepts, I feel that it makes this story that much more intriguing.

At the time that Frank had embarked on this undertaking, our country was significantly divided on a number of fronts. From a country standpoint, America had just ended participation in WWII, was economically and industrially thriving more than any other nation in the world, and patriotism was at an all time high, however the citizens, racism, and sexism, kept us highly divided.

I would estimate that Frank undertook this journey to find these answers, or if not this, maybe new ways to frame the question of what is it really to be an "American".

Americanism in the 1950's:

The 1950's in the United States of America was a time of bustling change. We had just brought an end to


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