Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thank you Robert Frank

Spending my Saturday morning catching up on past issues of the New Yorker, the September 14th issue has a great piece on Robert Frank's The Americans. It is certainly worth five minutes of your time. The article includes a paragraph on one of the photos he took in Butte. There is also a story on NPR's Fresh Air in regards to his photo of the elevator girl. And if that isn't enough, you can check out the National Gallery of Art's section on The Americans. The website discusses how The Americans was edited, sequenced, and issues Frank had with publishing the work. (It's great to see all these online resources on Frank, because it has been lacking in years past.)

Perhaps I seem to be going overboard on Robert Frank links, but his work shaped much of my undergraduate experience; from an extensive independent study project, discovering a balance between personal, experimental and documentary work, to calling him on the phone (I was young and full of courage). We didn't have websites or blogs as a resource, just the TR section in the library for inspiration. Looking at and thinking about photography books opened my mind as a undergrad, especially in the case of Frank. His books became a guide for me. I encourage all of you to spend time sitting in the aisles of the TR sections at the library with a pile of books, look for your photography guide. Set aside one day of the month to spend looking. When you find a photographer whose work sparks a passion in you, study their work in length, talk about it with your peers and your professors, look at it again and again-learn from it. What you take from your educational experiences will in part be what you were willing to discover on your own. Those discoveries will remain with you forever and will become the fire in your belly-sustaining you for years to come.


jackson said...

We don't use books anymore, its all about the internet...most of the time. I admit I spend a bit of time in the stacks flipping though the books. Chris has worked hard to get lots of great ones up there, props Chris! She also has a great list of all the books up there, she also has most of them down into their specific categories so you can go through all the ones on say documentary, alt etc. Check them out!

stephanie said...

Now i'm all inspired to go hang out in the 4th floor of the library, anyone want to join? Also, I saw Robert Franks work last year in D.C. Very interesting.

Leslie McDaniel said...

The basement is better. I like books.