Fifty years later, the 83 painstakingly selected black-and-white photographs from Robert Frank’s epic book “The Americans” remain as fresh and powerful — if not as startling — as they were when the volume was published.
Upon its release in 1959, however, the book was pilloried by critics because it exploded the rosy, self-satisfied fantasy of America that grew out of the post-World War II boom, presenting the American Dream as one not shared by, or equally available to, everyone.
Frank, a Swiss-born Jewish emigre living in New York, had rejected photography’s formal modernism of the period in favor of spontaneity, authenticity and a raw-edged style that shocked both the populace and cognoscenti alike. Eventually, other photographers picked up the torch, and the cultural zeitgeist shifted. Today, Frank is credited with…
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