The Americans

The Americans

Book - 2008
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First published in France in 1958, then the United States in 1959, Robert Frank's The Americans changed the course of twentieth-century photography. In eighty-three photographs, Frank looked beneath the surface of American life to reveal a people plagued by racism, ill-served by their politicians, and rendered numb by a rapidly expanding culture of consumption. Yet he also found novel areas of beauty in simple, overlooked corners of American life. And it was not just his subject matter - cars, jukeboxes, and even the road itself - that redefined the icons of America; it was also his seemingly intuitive, immediate, off-kilter style, as well as his method of brilliantly linking his photographs together thematically, conceptually, formally, and linguistically, that made The Americans so innovative. More of an ode or a poem than a literal document, the book is as powerful and provocative today as it was fifty-five years ago.
Publisher: Gottingen : Steidl ; Washington : National Gallery of Art, 2008.
Edition: 1st Steidl ed.
ISBN: 9783865215840
Call Number: 779.092 FRANK
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) : chiefly ill. ; 19 x 22 cm
Subjects: Frank, Robert, 1924-
United States -- Social life and customs -- 1945-1970 -- Pictorial works.
United States -- Pictorial works.
Additional Contributors: Kerouac, Jack 1922-1969.


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Feb 17, 2019

The photos are good and were probably groundbreaking at the time. (I think that's why some reviewers are not impressed.) Great to read some Kerouac of course. I would love to see this book re-issued in a larger format; so many of the photos need to be larger to see the detail.

Sep 08, 2014

I couldn't disagree with pvdl more!

Robert Frank's The Americans (along with the free-wheeling yet eloquent forward by Jack Kerouac) has aged very well. It is an incredibly important work of art that has profoundly affected the way we look at photography today.

It's also beautiful to look at, with delightfully composed, contemplative and downright poetic images on every page.

To quote Kerouac in the forward...

"Anybody doesn't like these pitchers don't like potry, see? Anybody don't like potry go home see Television shots of big hatted cowboys being tolerated by kind horses."

I guess that settles that.

JerryMann Nov 14, 2013

pvdl, with such a close-minded comment, has no business commenting on a monologue such as this in this forum. It only speaks to their misunderstanding of how photography can be used as an art and a tool for cultural comment and change. "The Americans" won widespread acclaim from those who study the history of photography,and other critics. If you, the user of the library, are hoping for a glorified view of Us Americans, look elsewhere. This is an unflinchingly raw comment on post-war American life.

Apr 29, 2010

Most of these poorly focused and poorly composed photos have little general interest.

The foreword by Jack Kerouac has not held up well over the past 60 years.

This book is mostly an example of how not to be a street photographer.


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