Robert Frank est un photographe et réalisateur américain d’origine suisse, né le 9 novembre 1924 à Zurich (Suisse). Son œuvre la plus célèbre est le livre Les Américains publié en 1958. Frank est aussi connu pour ses films et vidéos documentaires ainsi que ses manipulations photographiques et autres photomontages.
The Americans was shocking – and enduringly influential – because it simply showed things as they were. “I was tired of romanticism,” Frank told me, “I wanted to present what I saw, pure and simple.”
1. Show the hidden side of America. He caught what Diane Arbus called the “hollowness” at the heart of many American lives, the chasm between the American dream and the everyday reality. He shows various facets of American society and life have been ignored.”
2. Break photographic rules of perfection. Hs photographs were criticized as “Flawed by meaningless blur grain, muddy exposure, drunken horizons, and general sloppiness”. To create emotional photographs, he needed to experiment with different techniques in photographing, printing, and presenting his work. Brodovitch was experimental, and “encouraged students to use blur, imprecise focus, large foreground forms, bleach negatives, radically crop and distort print, or print two photographs on top of each other, put gauze over lens of enlargers – to not capture facts of scene but to experience it.”
3. Emphasize feelings. “The photograph must be the result of a head to head, a confrontation with a power, a force that one interrogates or questions.” “Rebelling against the popular 1950s notion championed by Edward Steichen and others that photography was a universal language, easily understood by all, he wanted a form that was open-ended, even deliberately ambiguous– one that engaged his viewers, rewarded their prolonged consideration, and perhaps even left them with as many questions as answers.” A body of work creating a strong body of work in which his interpretation of America wouldn’t be summed up in a single image- but rather through all of his images as a collective.
Friends with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg (searcher for a wilder America)
Frank abandoned photography for film in the early 1970s only to return to it a few years later in the wake of great personal tragedy.