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Introduction by Jack Kerouac
First published in France in 1958, then in the United States in 1959, Robert Frank's The Americans changed the course of twentieth-century photography. In 83 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 Frank's 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 56 years ago.
First published in 1958, Frank's most famous and influential photography book contained a series of deceptively simple photos that he took on a trip through America in 1955 and 1956. Several generations later, these pictures of everyday people still speak to us today.
Robert Frank was born in Zurich in 1924 to parents of Jewish descent. He immigrated to the United States two years after World War II ended, and since then he has produced work that changed the history of art and photography. Groundbreaking projects include The Americans, Lines of My Hand, Black White and Things, Pull My Daisy and Cocksucker Blues. Frank was the subject of a major retrospective organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, in 1994. He was the recipient of the Hasselblad Award in 1996. A major exhibition organized by The National Gallery of Art, Looking In: Robert Frank's "The Americans," will tour nationally in 2009, with stops in Washington, San Francisco and New York.