A Little Yin, A Little Yang

I love candy. Yep, love it like crazy. And sometimes, although we also crave the tools discussed here, (we all need them, to do what we love) sometimes the gear check is like candy. Love the stuff.

That is why I always need to balance the indulgence of those things with the point to it all: the photographs
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This month, one of the classic books of photographs will be republished by Steidl.
It’s the 50th anniversary of the first printing of The Americans by Swiss photographer, Robert Frank.
Sitting down this evening to take a gear break, I pulled an old copy of this from the shelf.

When a book has a forward by an American icon like Jack Kerouac, it makes you read it. When the photographs are of an America emerging from 2 wars, it make you look at them. And the brilliance of Robert Frank telling the visual tale of the US, in this book first published in France in 1958, has a sense of the Beat generations‘ views and of a country segregated, separated and steeped in its cultural differences brought together in a cross country, black and white portrait that still holds up today.

Sure, it’s a bit dated if you consider the coasts. The deep middle maybe less. The clothing and locales have changed. The modern versions of the inhabitants depicted here can be easily imagined.

The stunning photography is still remarkable. Yes, the print quality even in this edition from 1986, reveals the rich tonal scale from a certain era in our photographic world: the 50′s. and the style may seem familiar. The grain, the intimacy, the overall point of view. It was considered breakthrough at the time. Now it’s a standard in the imagery all around you.

One of my favorite images is this:

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Public Rally © Robert frank

From Jack Kerouac’s introduction:

“What a poem this is, what poems can be written about this book of pictures some day by some young new writer high by candlelight bending over them describing every gray mysterious detail, the gray film that caught the actual pink juice of human kind. Whether ’tis the milk of human kindness, Shakespeare meant, makes no difference when you look at these pictures. better than a show.”

Can’t wait to see the new edition. Seems Robert frank has overseen every new edition and usually changes something in the versions.

There will be a traveling show next year and we’ll keep you updated.

Hmmm…seems like a good candidate for the weekly giveaway. What do you think?

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Current Exhibitions

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  • Convergences: Selected photographs from the Permanent Collection
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  • New York,NY
  • 10012
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  • Museum of Modern Art
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