Robert Frank: A Sad Poem Out Of America

1783 Words8 Pages
Element 1 Critical Reflection Essay

Robert Frank

“Robert Frank sucked a sad poem out of America.” -(Jack Kerouac - 1957)

Robert Frank is a widely known photographer and film maker. Born in Switzerland 1924, he emigrated to America in 1947 where he acquired a photography job in New York. Soon after this, he decided to continue photographing in other areas of the world. It wasn’t until 1955 that he began work for his most famous and influential project ‘The Americans’.

Franks intentions within his work were to produce photographs that could show his interpretations of a subject, often something controversial or previously unapproached. ‘The Americans’ looked at the current state of American culture, class and race. It was noted as being
…show more content…
It is captured with the impression of looking into the bus, as if it was passing by. I first looked at the studium, the bus full of people, suggesting the area Frank wants you to focus on, framing and composing to direct attention. I think this direction is what allows you to see Franks visionary intentions, enabling the audience at first to see the basics of the images, leading you to concentrate further on more interesting details. The punctum becomes the people on the bus, the smaller details you see if concentrating on where your eyes are being led. At first I noted the bus was divided into sections, which drew my attention towards the two younger figures sat in the middle. Older white men and women sit at the front of the bus, and older black men and women are sat at the back of the bus. When thinking about how important visually representing his strong and often ugly opinions of America were to Frank, you begin to consider all possible intentions for an image, and how the picture is most likely trying to say something controversial. In ‘Trolley’ we as the audience see the passengers in a line, white to black, which is a strong example of discrimination that not only occurred but was considered normality for America, understaning that Frank visually represents his subject matter of presenting an ‘Unfair America’ through bringing up contemporary values, such as racism, in a negative…show more content…
His combination of artistic skill, strong opinions and eagerness to share these visions, and his actual endeavours led Frank not only to have produced an incredible, heartfelt project, but also meant that he had the chance to re-evaluate the American culture. At a time where people people were more skeptical and less willing to accept change, this grand gesture of cultivated work introduced the possibility of hope, if not through direct praise, but by giving Americans the chance to see their country for what it really was. I find Frank to be a highly influential, interesting and talented photographer, and I can only hope to maintain some of these qualities in my own work. “It was the vision that emanated from the book that led not only me, but my whole generation of photographers out into the American landscape in a sense — the lunatic sublime of America," (Joel Meyerowitz-
Open Document