Born in Zurich in 1924, Robert Frank began his career in photography in the mid-1940s before emigrating to America in 1947. As an immigrant, Frank was fascinated by America and after his first travels around the country he applied for a Guggenheim Fellowship to fund a longer and deeper journey around all parts of the country. Frank’s journey resulted in the publication of his groundbreaking book “The Americans” but as Frank later expressed on numerous occasions what disturbed him most was the systemic racism he saw and was best captured in the famous “Trolley Car, New Orleans”. (For a great exegesis of this photograph read Arthur Lubow’s piece in last week’s New York Times.) Yet beyond the atypical symbolism of this picture most of Frank’s other photographs of black people are by turns intimate, respectful, and far from stereotypical or clichéd. Looking back at the work – not just from “The Americans” but at the photographs that did not make the edit – it is clear that to Frank black lives mattered. As a foreign born Jew, Frank had faced...
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