Photographic Masters: Robert Frank

Robert Frank: 'Rodeo'1954

Robert Frank: 'Rodeo'1954

Robert Frank was a Swedish born photographer that made a name for himself with the publication of the 1958 book entitled The Americans. The Americans became a major influence in the photographic world and was noted for its skeptical outsider’s view of America. Robert Frank had travelled for about a year and shot an impressive 760 rolls of film (27,000 exposures). From that collection 83 pictures were select and published as this iconic work.

Robert Frank had taken up a new interest, film, by the time The Americans was published in the United States. He made a number of films in the sixties and his 1972 documentary of the Rolling Stones, Cocksucker Blues is arguably his best work in the medium. While maintaining a lifelong interest in film, he did eventually return to still images.

Franks work is characterized by his spontaneity of the medium. His work seems effortless and engaging, often with the subject or environment engaging the viewer as if to invite them to participate in the scene. He is oft credited with the birth of contemporary photography and paved the way for such contemporaries as Sally Mann and others. Without question he is a master of the form.

Frank eventually settled in Mabou, a fishing village in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

You can pick up a copy of The Americas at


Here is a small collection of his work:


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