The Americans, a group of photos shot by Robert Frank between 1955 and 1957, made photographic history: these works, which Frank took on a series of road trips through the United States, illuminate the post-war “American way of life” in grim black and white, revealing a reality of pervasive racism, violence, and consumer culture. Due to his images’ failure to uphold America’s self-image at the time, it was at first only possible to publish the synonymous book in Europe. But with The Americans, Robert Frank did ultimately succeed in creating one of the most influential photographic works of the post-war period while also effecting a sustained renewal of street photography.
The Albertina, in its exhibition, is showing selected groups of works that make it possible to retrace Robert Frank’s development as an artist: from his early travel photos to The Americans and on to his introspective late oeuvre, central aspects of his work are placed front and centre.
(Photo: Robert Frank, London, 1951, © Robert Frank, Fotostiftung Schweiz)