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books

The Americans

THE AMERICANS, by Robert Frank. Aperture, Inc., New York (republished) 1959/1969.

In 1956 Robert Frank, a Swiss photographer living in New York, applied to the Guggenheim Foundation for funds to photograph America. In his proposal he offered “. . . to produce a social document the visual impact of which will nullify explanation.” The grant was awarded, and after it another grant followed. For two years Robert Frank traveled throughout America photographing almost every aspect of our culture. In 1959 he published these photographs, first in Europe (Delpire Press, Les Americans) and later in America, where Grove Press brought out an edition.

The Americans had an overwhelming effect. There were no indifferent responses to Frank’s photographs; people either loved them or hated them. However, due to poor promotion, very few people outside of the art world ever saw the book. It did not sell well,

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