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Any other Robert Frank lovers here?
Old 12-07-2018   #1
peterm1
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Any other Robert Frank lovers here?

A few Robert Frank images. I cant help but feel (though I am sure it is unjustified) that the best street photos are those made in the 1950s and 1960s.









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Old 12-07-2018   #2
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Heck yes. My book sequence is a direct descendant of The Americans.

The bus image above has long been a favorite, as well as the big flag photo from the book. Several of his later small booms from Steidl are in my collection as well.
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Old 12-07-2018   #3
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I have spent a number of hours trying to track down the bar he took a photo in here in Gallup,NM.....I've also gifted a few copies of his book "The American's" I also have a few of his other books. His work for the most part is outstanding, at least in my opinion.
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Old 12-07-2018   #4
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I am a huge Robert Frank fan. If you love his photos, do yourself a favor and get the excellent book "Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans: Expanded Edition". 528 pages (!) of outstanding information on where and how he took the photos.
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Old 12-07-2018   #5
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I always liked his photos from his " Americans " series.

I believe while shooting in some small southern US town in the mid 1950s he was picked up by the local constabulary, for being a suspicious looking swarthy dude with a camera and a foreign sounding speaking accent .
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Old 12-07-2018   #6
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One of my favorite photographers. That kind of work is very, very hard to do at the level that he worked. Fantastic photographer with a great eye.

Being a suspicious swarthy dude is something to aspire to
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Old 12-07-2018   #7
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I will bring in his work for the album cover of Exile on Main Street from the Rolling Stones.

I never saw the documentary he did on the Stones tour which was censored and banned.

Frank did a short movie w/ the beat poets... Pull my Daisy.. was that the name?

He fell for the siren call of filmmaking. I know how it feels.
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Old 12-07-2018   #8
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Wasnīt Alexey Brodovitch who told him to pick a Leica? Frank began shooting on Rolleiflex.

Brodovitch is an unsung hero... his influence on Photography History is huuuge. He had the balls to pick unknown photographers who had only shot documentary work and hire them to shoot fashion for Bazaar.
No one does that!
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Old 12-07-2018   #9
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I will bring in his work for the album cover of Exile on Main Street from the Rolling Stones.

I never saw the documentary he did on the Stones tour which was censored and banned.

Frank did a short movie w/ the beat poets... Pull my Daisy.. was that the name?

He fell for the siren call of filmmaking. I know how it feels.
The film is on youtube. Coc ksuc kers Blues (censors don't like the title it seems). Knock yourself out! And yes, Pull My Daisy.

'The Americans' is filmic in structure.
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Old 12-07-2018   #10
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I just recalled the name of another photographer who reminds me of Robert Frank. it is the German / British photographer BIll Brandt who life in Britain in the 1930s through the 1960s. His work often seemed to embody the same kind of gritty reality. Though with a few more nudes and art thrown in. I was trying to bring him to mind the other day in a different thread but it took me a few days to do so.

https://www.google.com.au/search?rlz...10.7ilrxRK0b1g





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Old 12-07-2018   #11
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I have some early books of his (R.Frank) and it is clear he was testing certain ideas and approaches that would find full expression later with The Americans. Some of his early photos are so good that he would have achieved notoriety anyway. The Americans however were groundbreaking and every single photo is riveting. I find his later work quite esoteric/personal, although still discernibly his.

This video from SFMOMA (embedded in the link) is quite recent, I think:

https://pdnpulse.pdnonline.com/2018/...americans.html
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Old 12-07-2018   #12
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Peter, to answer your question: yes.
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Old 12-07-2018   #13
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Yes …. big fan .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-940BUcz_Q
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Old 12-07-2018   #14
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Don McCullin is another somewhat in the Frank mould.



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Old 12-08-2018   #15
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Great fan here. Love his style, love his work, from the beginning to the most recent with polaroid and film frames included. Inspiring visual artist, Steidl selection here.

"Story lines" is another book from him I suggest.

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Old 12-08-2018   #16
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Yep. Longtime fan of Frank. And of Brandt.

Re: Brandt--for those unfamiliar with his work, that photo of his with the window washer shows one of Brandt's own photos in the display.
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Old 12-08-2018   #17
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Iīm a big fan of "Black, White and Things" and "The Americans", but I will have to get that "Valencia" book really quick! (Thanks for the link, Robert)
The german filmmaker Thomas Schadt made a TV feature about "The Americans" in 1989
("Das Gefühl des Augenblicks")
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Old 12-08-2018   #18
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Another Robert Frank fan here. Together with Robert Doisneau are (I think) less celebrated than they really should be.
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Old 12-08-2018   #19
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Frank was 'celebrated' for his early work ''The Americans'', following that feat...the ditched Rolling Stones documentary...probably an easy money thing. A man of his time, which is not today.
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Old 12-08-2018   #20
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Yep. Longtime fan of Frank. And of Brandt.

Re: Brandt--for those unfamiliar with his work, that photo of his with the window washer shows one of Brandt's own photos in the display.
Brandt was the first i saw using a pinhole camera.
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Old 12-08-2018   #21
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Because...I'm as already said a Robert Frank's fan and because I like Polaroid, being my birthday next monday I decided to make myself a special present: just ordered "Come Again" a book I saw a long time ago but I didn't buy (simply because of limited budget!) but I always desired!

robert

"Come Again" is also mentioned in this interview with Robert Frank @ NYPL, it is also possible to download the transcript of the interview.
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Old 12-08-2018   #22
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Yup, love Robert Frank. Big influence along with Moriyama, Plossu and Larrain

Fans of The Americans should check out another couple of books. Robert Depardon's USA book blew me away when I flicked through it, immediate purchase.
Also Trent Parke's Minutes to Midnight, very much a modern Australian version of The Americans.

For Frank himself I love the London/Wales book that the top image is taken from. Has anyone bought any of his more recent books ? He's still knocking them out and perhaps more intimate and personal than his previous work.

Love this video of him shooting an instant camera on a bus. At first confused why the camera didn't work, then trying to be innocent when it did (flash and motor popping the photo out)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axHq...&frags=pl%2Cwn
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Old 12-08-2018   #23
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Long before I had ever heard of Robert Frank, I shot this one on a stroll through Boston's North End.
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Old 12-08-2018   #24
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Always enjoyed this image of Frank and Tom Waits. Two very skewed but penetrating observers of America and humanity.

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Old 12-08-2018   #25
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As someone that was interested in cameras and photography for much of my young life I remain terribly ignorant of the many notable photographers whose work is considered to be monumental in the eyes of many. Even though I might be familiar with some of the images they've created it's rare that I can identify an image with it's creator. Fortunately Robert Frank is amongst those photographers that I am aware of and I do own The Americans.

I realize that most here are probably all too aware of the works of other such photographers and maybe even take such knowledge (or perhaps familiarity) for granted. Given my lack of exposure (pun intended) to their work, I'm grateful to anyone here who takes the time to mention other photographers that they hold in high regard in threads such as this. Thanks to the OP for posing your question. Over time I'm hoping to expand my collection of books featuring the works of individual photographers and threads like this one are of benefit to me.

(I would have started a new thread regarding my plight, but fortunately a search revealed there are already a number of other threads for me to explore.)
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Old 12-08-2018   #26
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(I would have started a new thread regarding my plight, but fortunately a search revealed there are already a number of other threads for me to explore.)
I wouldn't feel bad about starting another thread, I think most of us would be happy to talk about photobooks and photographers. Beats all the gear talk anyhoo.
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Old 12-08-2018   #27
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I am certain that I am in a very small minority here but I do not like Robert Frank's work at all. Before everyone gets all worked up at the rest of my post I need to say that I have nothing whatsoever against Robert Frank as a person. I don't know him and for all I know he may be a terrific person. Neither do I have anything against legal immigration. I know that being an immigrant is not a bowl of roses and trying to find your way in a new country with totally different attitudes and a culture foreign to you has to be very difficult.

I have had a copy of The Americans for years and I go through it from time to time trying to figure out why his collection of poorly composed, poorly focused and poorly exposed photographs (sometimes all in the same photograph) are considered to be such a wonderful example of 1950s photography and so indicative of 1950s America. To me most of those photographs don't even achieve the status of decent snapshots.

After reviewing his work in The Americans I have had no interest in buying any of his other books. I do hope he got better at photography as he got older because he certainly wasn't very good at first.

The 1950s in the United States was a period of massive growth, great prosperity and a blooming in hope for the entire world. The great War was over and there was huge optimism within the US and people from all over were clamoring to immigrate. It was also a time that created the economic engine that, for better or worse, has defined the world for over 70 years. But it seems that all we want to celebrate is the myopic view of one displaced and unhappy European immigrant who did not understand our country, and obviously did not like it. The irony and melancholy evident in his photos make his attitude abundantly clear.

Nuff said. Just a different perspective from someone who does not worship his work.
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Old 12-08-2018   #28
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After reviewing his work in The Americans I have had no interest in buying any of his other books. I do hope he got better at photography as he got older because he certainly wasn't very good at first.

The 1950s in the United States was a period of massive growth, great prosperity and a blooming in hope for the entire world. The great War was over and there was huge optimism within the US and people from all over were clamoring to immigrate. It was also a time that created the economic engine that, for better or worse, has defined the world for over 70 years. But it seems that all we want to celebrate is the myopic view of one displaced and unhappy European immigrant who did not understand our country, and obviously did not like it. The irony and melancholy evident in his photos make his attitude abundantly clear.
I wasn't under the impression that Frank's work is all we want to celebrate, however he was the topic of this particular thread. If I understand you correctly, you have a problem with both his photography and his particular vision of this country during the 1950s. Out of curiosity, what other photographers do you feel did a better job of photographing this country during this same period of time while presenting an image of it that you're more in agreement with?
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Old 12-08-2018   #29
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I ... do not like Robert Frank's work at all. ... I have nothing whatsoever against Robert Frank as a person.
Usually its the other way round: most people like his photography but can't stand him as a person.

BTW, he's still alive and lives very secluded in a simple home off the coast of Nova Scotia.
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Old 12-08-2018   #30
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Quote:
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I am certain that I am in a very small minority here but I do not like Robert Frank's work at all. Before everyone gets all worked up at the rest of my post I need to say that I have nothing whatsoever against Robert Frank as a person. I don't know him and for all I know he may be a terrific person. Neither do I have anything against legal immigration. I know that being an immigrant is not a bowl of roses and trying to find your way in a new country with totally different attitudes and a culture foreign to you has to be very difficult.

I have had a copy of The Americans for years and I go through it from time to time trying to figure out why his collection of poorly composed, poorly focused and poorly exposed photographs (sometimes all in the same photograph) are considered to be such a wonderful example of 1950s photography and so indicative of 1950s America. To me most of those photographs don't even achieve the status of decent snapshots.

After reviewing his work in The Americans I have had no interest in buying any of his other books. I do hope he got better at photography as he got older because he certainly wasn't very good at first.

The 1950s in the United States was a period of massive growth, great prosperity and a blooming in hope for the entire world. The great War was over and there was huge optimism within the US and people from all over were clamoring to immigrate. It was also a time that created the economic engine that, for better or worse, has defined the world for over 70 years. But it seems that all we want to celebrate is the myopic view of one displaced and unhappy European immigrant who did not understand our country, and obviously did not like it. The irony and melancholy evident in his photos make his attitude abundantly clear.

Nuff said. Just a different perspective from someone who does not worship his work.
Everyone has the right to like the work of a particular photographer's work or not.

I think that Robert Frank's Americans series of photos is liked by many, as he showed a reverse image of the USA as opposed to the hyped Ozzie and Harriet , Leave it to Beaver and shiny huge two toned fin-tailed car stereotyped USA in the 1950s, of greasy pompadours and poodle sklrts and saddle shoes and Elvis and Buddy Holly and Levitt town suburbia.

Some say he was able to do this easier as a foreigner, but really the photo work of Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange and the majority of the FSA photographers already covered that pessimistic ground, but that was in the hungry America of the 1930s and not the optimistic atomic age America of the 1950s. Maybe no one expected that in the USA of the 1950s?
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Old 12-08-2018   #31
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I wasn't under the impression that Frank's work is all we want to celebrate, however he was the topic of this particular thread. If I understand you correctly, you have a problem with both his photography and his particular vision of this country during the 1950s. Out of curiosity, what other photographers do you feel did a better job of photographing this country during this same period of time while presenting an image of it that you're more in agreement with?
Probably a better topic for another thread rather than hijacking this one, and I can't say I've given it a whole lot of thought, but I much prefer Walker Evans, Elliott Erwitt, Eve Arnold or Richard Avedon from this period. With the possible exception of Elliott Erwitt I'm not sure that any of these are really considered street photographers. David Douglas Duncan is also very good in my opinion and though he was not a street photographer he was still in the business of reacting quickly to accomplish his work.

I am also very fond of Angus McBean and Jane Bown, but they worked more in England and probably worked more in the 60s, or at least were better known for their later work. Even Diane Arbus was a better photographer in my mind, though her subject matter was certainly a trifle odd and not really to my taste.

But truthfully, any one of these are much better photographers than Robert Franks was when he did the photography for The American. In my perhaps not so humble opinion of course.
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Old 12-08-2018   #32
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I`m a fan but he isn`t the most technically proficient of photographers.
I myself don`t mind that although his latest work is , I would suggest, very much of an acquired taste .

He`s still struggling with the camera though Dan


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Old 12-09-2018   #33
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I am certain that I am in a very small minority here but I do not like Robert Frank's work at all. ..
Pioneer, this is what is nice in RFF ! We can have very different ideas and this makes it interesting otherwise it would be a boring place
What is important is that we can still stay together under the same roof!

robert
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Old 12-09-2018   #34
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I am certain that I am in a very small minority here but I do not like Robert Frank's work at all. Before everyone gets all worked up at the rest of my post I need to say that I have nothing whatsoever against Robert Frank as a person. I don't know him and for all I know he may be a terrific person. Neither do I have anything against legal immigration. I know that being an immigrant is not a bowl of roses and trying to find your way in a new country with totally different attitudes and a culture foreign to you has to be very difficult.

I have had a copy of The Americans for years and I go through it from time to time trying to figure out why his collection of poorly composed, poorly focused and poorly exposed photographs (sometimes all in the same photograph) are considered to be such a wonderful example of 1950s photography and so indicative of 1950s America. To me most of those photographs don't even achieve the status of decent snapshots.

After reviewing his work in The Americans I have had no interest in buying any of his other books. I do hope he got better at photography as he got older because he certainly wasn't very good at first.

The 1950s in the United States was a period of massive growth, great prosperity and a blooming in hope for the entire world. The great War was over and there was huge optimism within the US and people from all over were clamoring to immigrate. It was also a time that created the economic engine that, for better or worse, has defined the world for over 70 years. But it seems that all we want to celebrate is the myopic view of one displaced and unhappy European immigrant who did not understand our country, and obviously did not like it. The irony and melancholy evident in his photos make his attitude abundantly clear.

Nuff said. Just a different perspective from someone who does not worship his work.
When i read Jack Kerouac, Gore Vidal, Mailer, Faulkner or Cormac McCarthy i see a country close to Robert Frankīs images.
Probably the reason for his success is this similarity w/ good American literature.

What you describe as a vision of the US is close to Russia before Kruchev spilled the beans: an optimistic engine made of hope and economic boom.
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Old 12-09-2018   #35
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I think we see in Frank's photographs what we want to see. I recall reading an interview with Frank several years ago in which he denied his photos were meant to be a negative view of America at the time. He said he was just documenting what he saw and he really wasn't trying to be critical. He seemed surprised the book took on the interpretation it did. Of course he could have been posturing for the interviewer, I dunno.

(Don't ask me where I read the interview. It was a few years ago and I was on a big Robert Frank binge at the time.)
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Old 12-09-2018   #36
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I think we see in Frank's photographs what we want to see. I recall reading an interview with Frank several years ago in which he denied his photos were meant to be a negative view of America at the time. He said he was just documenting what he saw and he really wasn't trying to be critical. He seemed surprised the book took on the interpretation it did. Of course he could have been posturing for the interviewer, I dunno.

(Don't ask me where I read the interview. It was a few years ago and I was on a big Robert Frank binge at the time.)
Well... the preface of Americans was written by Jack Kerouac. People tend to side w/ ready made impressions when reacting to art.. If itīs Kerouac then itīs this or that.
Otoh i find his compositions close to free jazz and thatīs the impression i get. Itīs loose, intense and events seem looking for meaning instead of meaning arranged into form. The latter is always contrived and far from life.
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Old 12-09-2018   #37
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He is one the great ones.
I had his Americans book, but send it as gift to Russia.
I watched documentary about him. He is strong...
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Old 12-09-2018   #38
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Probably a better topic for another thread rather than hijacking this one
Yes of course (maybe you'll start one?). As someone who is compiling a list of photographers whose work I might want to explore I appreciate the additional input.
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Old 12-09-2018   #39
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Always enjoyed this image of Frank and Tom Waits. Two very skewed but penetrating observers of America and humanity.

A nice piece on this moment
https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nyti...-frank.html?hp

"I immediately recognized Robert Frank, because at that point I was probably looking at his photographs every day." It's cute that he recognized Frank before Waits.

Is that a polaroid camera for proofs?
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Old 12-10-2018   #40
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Probably a better topic for another thread rather than hijacking this one, and I can't say I've given it a whole lot of thought, but I much prefer Walker Evans, Elliott Erwitt, Eve Arnold or Richard Avedon from this period. With the possible exception of Elliott Erwitt I'm not sure that any of these are really considered street photographers. David Douglas Duncan is also very good in my opinion and though he was not a street photographer he was still in the business of reacting quickly to accomplish his work.

I am also very fond of Angus McBean and Jane Bown, but they worked more in England and probably worked more in the 60s, or at least were better known for their later work. Even Diane Arbus was a better photographer in my mind, though her subject matter was certainly a trifle odd and not really to my taste.

But truthfully, any one of these are much better photographers than Robert Franks was when he did the photography for The American. In my perhaps not so humble opinion of course.
Whilst I like some of Erwitt's photos, I don't like him as much as Frank.

Frank for me is a realist - I love photographers who capture the essence of the street where you can almost smell and feel the texture of the photographers surroundings.

Erwitt is perhaps more fantasy often using juxtaposition as the basis of the photo. I'll look at some of his photos and smirk, but it quickly becomes dull looking at a series of his images in a book.

So Frank compared to Erwitt - Frank is an 'album' artist who is based in reality. Erwitt is a 'singles' artist who is more based in fantasy
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