Robert Frank is an American photographer and documentary filmmaker. Born in Zurich, Switzerland, he emigrated to United States in 1947. His father was a German Jew. During Second World War, his family became stateless. They migrated to Switzerland and obtained the Swiss passport.
Les Americains was first published in France in 1958 and a year later in the USA. Popularly known as The Americans, it was a book based on post-war photography containing still-photos from his trip around the US. He took his family along with him for part of his series of road trips over the next two years, during which time he took 28,000 shots. 83 of these were selected by him for the publication.
The book initially received harsh criticism in the USA, where the tone of the book was perceived as derogatory to national ideals.
It was the analysis of cultural and social themes of the then contemporary America, where, Segregation was common and rampant. The tensions between the optimism of the 1950s and the realities of class and racial differences.
The irony that Frank found in the gloss of American culture and wealth over this tension gave his photographs a clear contrast to those of most contemporary American photojournalists, as did his use of unusual focus, low lighting and cropping that deviated from accepted photographic techniques.
Copyright @Les Americains, Frank Robert