Remembering Robert Frank Through His Pioneering Images of America -ARTnews

Robert Frank, Charleston, South Carolina, 1955.


Earlier today, ARTnews reported that Robert Frank, the pioneering filmmaker and photographer, died at 94. He has been an influence for a number of documentary photographers working today, thanks to his decidedly unglamorous aesthetic, which he has utilized to highlight wealth disparities and forms of oppression in modern-day America.

Below, we have assembled a slideshow that includes eight of Frank’s most poignant images. Some of them are from The Americans, Frank’s most famous work—a photobook published first in France that featured the results of a cross-country journey across the United States. Among the images is one of a black nurse holding a white child—one of many images of African-Americans that Frank shot as part of the series. “That trip I got to like black people so much more than white people,” Frank told the New York Times of these images in 2015.

Though Frank dropped photography in favor of filmmaking starting the year after The Americans was released, he would continue shooting still pictures throughout the later part of his career. Two of these later images are included in the slideshow; both of them typify his photography after he turned to filmmaking, with their surfaces scratched and manipulated. One, from 1993, shows the artist’s shadow cast against a wall with photographic negatives attached to it. It’s a self-portrait of sorts, albeit an unusual one, and one only appropriate to an artist who preferred to be elusive, even as he achieved widespread fame.

Below, a look at Frank’s raw and continually fascinating photography.

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