September 10, 2019
Photographer whose work captured the lives of ordinary people and those on the margins
Robert Frank obituary
Robert Frank, who has died aged 94, was to the photography of 1950s America what Walker Evans was to the 30s and Robert Mapplethorpe to the 70s. His black-and-white images captured the ignored and rejected lives of individuals existing on the edge.
In 1957, Frank met the beat writer Jack Kerouac at a party in New York and showed him a sheaf of photos he had recently taken on road trips around the US. Kerouac offered to write an introduction for what became Frank’s best known book, The Americans, published in Paris in 1958 and in New York the following year. Kerouac pointed to the coffins and jukeboxes that litter the work until “you end up not knowing any more whether a jukebox is sadder than a coffin”. He concluded: “To Robert Frank I now give this message: You got eyes.”
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