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Author Topic: RIP Robert Frank  (Read 125 times)

josh.reichmann

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Compassion and wisdom are inextricably linked.

Rob C

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Re: RIP Robert Frank
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2019, 09:43:49 am »

http://www.artnews.com/2019/09/10/robert-frank-photographer-dead/?fbclid=IwAR2conFlaGTBGMuogfjeXvAdB6EEWFCsesniLtDF6bZUqGSX0TycpC99WOU

That would be nice... compassion often indicates an acute lack of wisdom.

Ask the folks on Lampedusa.

Trump gets a lot of foreign things wrong, but not everything when it impacts his borders.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbVHKwZQLF8

;-)

RSL

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Re: RIP Robert Frank
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2019, 10:46:28 am »

I’m damned tired of reading about Robert Frank’s “gritty truths.” I was there! I was 29 when The Americans came out in the U.S. I remember reading the editorial in Popular Photography about how “gritty” and off-the-mark Frank’s work was. The critique mostly was the same kind of bullshit I continue to read, even in LuLa.

The fact is that The Americans told all sorts of truths about America. There are “gritty” truths and beautiful truths in that book. But, let’s face it, those of us who’d ventured outside New York City or Los Angeles were aware that when we traveled we’d find motels with “Modern cabins” (meaning recently installed indoor plumbing), that in the West roads run to the horizon, long and straight, that in the West people were leaving the land, that in the South blacks sat in the back of the bus, that big-city politicians look like (and probably are) crooks. We also knew what it was like to have lunch at a drugstore counter with jukebox coin collectors at every other seat.

The thing that made The Americans seem gritty to people who’d never left NYC or LA, who’d never gone into “flyover country” (obviously including the editors of Popular Photography), was that they were used to the prettification of America foisted on them in The Saturday Evening Post and similar publications by foisters like Normal Rockwell and Alfred Eisenstadt. Frank told the truth, and for the people who’d hidden out, the truth was painful and it didn’t make them free.

What you see in The Americans, if you haven’t been put off by talk of “gritty truths,” is a nation that identified its problems, shook them off, and has continued to be the salvation of the Western world. As an outsider Robert Frank could see what many of us missed. May the Lord bless him in his continued existence through his wonderful street photography.

Rob C

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Re: RIP Robert Frank
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2019, 12:43:45 pm »

I’m damned tired of reading about Robert Frank’s “gritty truths.” I was there! I was 29 when The Americans came out in the U.S. I remember reading the editorial in Popular Photography about how “gritty” and off-the-mark Frank’s work was. The critique mostly was the same kind of bullshit I continue to read, even in LuLa.

The fact is that The Americans told all sorts of truths about America. There are “gritty” truths and beautiful truths in that book. But, let’s face it, those of us who’d ventured outside New York City or Los Angeles were aware that when we traveled we’d find motels with “Modern cabins” (meaning recently installed indoor plumbing), that in the West roads run to the horizon, long and straight, that in the West people were leaving the land, that in the South blacks sat in the back of the bus, that big-city politicians look like (and probably are) crooks. We also knew what it was like to have lunch at a drugstore counter with jukebox coin collectors at every other seat.

The thing that made The Americans seem gritty to people who’d never left NYC or LA, who’d never gone into “flyover country” (obviously including the editors of Popular Photography), was that they were used to the prettification of America foisted on them in The Saturday Evening Post and similar publications by foisters like Normal Rockwell and Alfred Eisenstadt. Frank told the truth, and for the people who’d hidden out, the truth was painful and it didn’t make them free.

What you see in The Americans, if you haven’t been put off by talk of “gritty truths,” is a nation that identified its problems, shook them off, and has continued to be the salvation of the Western world. As an outsider Robert Frank could see what many of us missed. May the Lord bless him in his continued existence through his wonderful street photography.


Thinking about it, the way you have laid it bare, reminds me that that's pretty much what Martin Parr has being building his career upon for ages and ages, but in Britain, instead.

Much of it always was a "gritty", dirty and industrial hell. I have not seen it in a few years, and according to my family, a lot has changed in the Clyde valley area, at least. That said, the vast social housing schemes remain, their reputations not a lot better than they were when I bade the country a fond farewell. We had our own versions of Freedom City, make no mistake about that! Now, it's more likely to be the turn of London and Paris.

I guess it takes generations and unlikely economic miracles to change a social landscape, whereas the natural one only needs a bulldozer or two.

Rob
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