Robert Frank HW#4

Robert Franks unpublicized photos are in some aspects for the purposes of art but I do think that his photos start to develop further intentions as he grasps his surrounding. Regardless of his curiosity and exploration on what kind of place America is there is a fine line in his purpose even if it’s unintentional. His purpose in my perspective started out with just him trying to comprehend America is but further grew into bringing in more awareness. As claimed in the video he criticized racism in America as irrational. He could not understand how caucasian people felt compelled to be separated by African American yet made African American women take care of their own children. So in a way, his images were political even if it wasn’t intended. He did not manipulate his images because the purpose was to define America for what he saw his subjects as. They are influential in that the subjects are politically aimed are magnified because they are revolved around sensitive topics. Exposing America to its true embodiment is something that I think he intended to do. I think it became his motive when he gained his definition of America. I find the images to communicate political and artistic aims due to the fluent subjects presented. What I find intriguing is the natural flow of his images they are expected in some ways. The scenes are predictable scenes that are ordained and can be seen any other day. His work embodies the time frame and the social issues of that era. Americans wanted to have a reputation that is respected and looked up to so exposing these matters that were occurring in America brought a negative reaction. Mostly due to the pride and nationalistic views Americans had. His intent is clearly visible so in this regards, he is bias it isn’t just art it is political.

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HW #4 Robert Frank

Robert Frank is a Swiss-American photographer and documentary filmmaker. He was born on November 9th, 1924, his most notable work in 1958 was the Americans. It earned Frank comparisons to a modern-day de Tocqueville for his fresh and nuanced outsider’s view of American society. In 1955 and 1956 his goal was to capture America, stark landscape, and its ordinary people. In other words, he was to take pictures of his everyday life. The Book was one of the great achievements of 20th-century photography. Peter stated that the book is very critical and that America often looks leak and the people look distracted or bored. But it is a piece of art and it is not a political propaganda. The photos that did not make it into the book, more than 150 were donated to the canter art center permanent collection, but have been shown in a formal exhibition. Peter states that he couldn’t understand how a White Southern Women would in trust their baby to the car of black women, but would not sit near them. These images is a way Frank was trying to understand the country. He showed various of themes throughout his photographs, he focused on things without people noticing that he was taking photographs. Perhaps it could have been political because of the whites and blacks, but it was also he was catching peoples everyday life.

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HW #4 – Robert Frank


Robert Frank captured everything about the American society, the good and the bad. He didn’t sugar coat anything, or try to hide the bad representation of America.  To Robert Frank, he wasn’t necessarily making art for the people. He was just expressing his thoughts, and sharing what he thought about the country from an outsider’s point of view. He addressed themes and problems that the American people were afraid to tackle head on. In many of his photos, the issue of slavery always makes an appearance.  The cover of his book as we saw in class, is a picture of a bus in which the seating sections are segregated by the race white or black. Another very interesting theme that he confronts is that Americans really aren’t interested in their everyday jobs. They seem bored, frustrated, and just waiting for their shift to end so that they can go home. At a time where the U.S was the propaganda for life opportunities, the land of free, where you can own big beautiful houses and drive around in the latest cars and live your luxurious life. That doesn’t seem to be the case as it is seen through Frank’s perspective. Which I found very interesting, he shows America how it was, no propaganda , patriotism or nationalism involved behind the photography process at all.

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Homework #4: Robert Frank’s America

I believe that the theme of Robert Frank’s photographs confronts a topic that has needed a thorough discussion for a long time now. Before Robert Frank, the world only had a fictional idea of what the United States mainland was like. Based on advertisement sent out by Americans, everyone believed that the United States was a place of peace and equality. However, Robert Frank’s photos reveal through the citizens of the United States that not everything there was absolutely perfect.

In terms of what I think of Robert Frank’s photographs, I believe that there are some artistic and political qualities within a lot of his photos. In photos like the trolley, the array of the windows and the organization of the people in them gives the photo an aesthetic quality in itself. However, it also shines attention on a status quo that many may not find appealing to the ideals of democratic society.

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Houssynatou Barry HW #4

“Artistic is defined as someone who possess the creative quality that enables him to excel at producing creative works”. Indeed Robert Frank’s themes are artistic, he used his art to bring to light an unseen American social life, something that is not spoken up about, and was exactly why America was seen as the “perfect” world to live in. This country is portrayed as the heaven on earth and have always been portrayed as so.  therefor if people like Robert Frank did not enlightened the rest of the world, the unjust social life would continue to rise and very few people will be informed or able to help. Even though Robert Frank’s photograph did not bring a major change in the society at that time, his courage and dedication should actually be recognized, Flying to a new and powerful country like the United States of America and showing a darker side of the country cost one a lot. Here is to say that he basically put his life and career on the line.



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Hw#4: Robert Frank’s America

Robert Frank was born in November 9, 1924; he is a Swiss-American photographer and a documentary filmmaker. Robert Frank is mostly known for his book named The Americans. His book contains only 83 photographs that were taken during the 1950s but he took more than 83 photographs of Americans. The purpose of his work was to take photographs of the everyday life of Americans. Robert’s photographs changed the way people thought about art photography. he took photographs from one end of the coast to another, to cover what he was aiming for; the everyday life of people in America. The exhibition at Stanford University’s Cantor Center for Visual Arts displays Robert’s photography that was not included in the book The Americans along with the photographs that are in the book. I find Frank’s photographs in a combination of art, being bleak and political, because he is capturing the overall life of Americans which involves the good and not so good side of the United States. In the video states that racial segregation affected Robert, he could not explain how a white woman would trust her baby to a black woman but will not sit next to her. The most fascinating thing about his work of photography is that his photographs are not staged, meaning that people are not posing for him. His photographs are images that were taken randomly and without notice.

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Homework #4

Robert Frank, a well respected photographer during the mid-1900s, captured America from a different perspective. This was not the point of view of presenting America as a superior nation, however, more so the realism of the country and its people. Peter Glass, who is the curator of the Robert Frank exhibit in Stanford, delicately enforces the purpose of these images. The themes that are stated in the video were ordinary people, politics, and religion. He goes in depth by highlighting how an individual connects to the nation. His visit to the South prior to the Civil Rights movements emphasized the racial tensions in the area. For example, the photo of a black woman holding a white baby brought up a very interesting question. This question being was how come a white mom has no problem with a  black women taking care of her child, but would not dare sit next to this same black women during another circumstance. Furthermore, there were photos of people who simply seemed bored of their jobs and did show how rapidly paced America is such as described in different photographers. The series of photos of taken of human beings was artistic and bold in that it portrayed a realistic view of America rather than what many are accustomed to seeing.

The political aspect was also having light shined upon the topic. Robert Frank showed people rallying together with the American Flag making an appearance in the crowd. In addition, the untiement was very much put up on the spotlight.

What he brilliantly managed to accomplish is connecting the previous era to the modern one now. He exposes human loneliness, unity, and more to how civilization is today. More importantly, all the themes addressed were adequately represented.

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HW#4- Robert Frank

Robert Frank’s work is unique and different from every other artist. I like his use of going to different cities and taking quick almost snap-shot images that capture the reality of what people’s lives are like. For example, one of the most eye-grabbing images that were shown in the video about the exhibition was about the woman in the elevator working. She had a dull face almost as if she was tired, hungry, and depressed about pushing buttons for a living. This was great to see because we go through days just like this at times thinking that we are so useless and don’t want to work anymore and want a change. We also at times don’t necessarily see these people’s emotions because we are always in a rush and don’t pay attention to our surroundings as much as we should.

The real sense in his photos was also unlike any other photographers work. His use of making images look like they are telling a story through emotions he captures and facial expressions was unbelievable. The picture of the black woman holding a white baby helped to show the diversity and prove that we are all equal regardless of color, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

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Robert Frank – H.w #4

Robert Frank’s photographs of America had many themes, some intentional, others not so much. The main theme I noticed the everyday life of Americans. He took pictures showing working Americans, stressed out Americans, and even happy Americans. In the midst of his trip to America he also captured a them that no one ever wants to discuss, racism. He couldn’t understand the concept of racism in America. The main picture that represents this concept, is the photo of a black woman holding a white baby. Robert Frank couldn’t understand the fact that a white woman could trust her baby with a black woman but refused to have any other contact with her. He was from Switzerland where he never experienced or witnessed skin color racism.

I think that his work was a combination of artistic along with political. It was artistic because this was America in his eyes. A foreigner experiencing this great country for the first time, and you get a sense of excitement and curiosity in all his photos. He felt the need to photograph any and everything that caught his attention. I don’t think that he purposely took the pictures of the segregated bus or restaurants to prove to everyone that America was racist. In my opinion, he just wanted to show the world America as a whole, not just the good parts, but also the bad parts. Also the political rallies and such. So that’s where the political side comes in.


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Robert Frank’s The Americans was not supposed to show the United States in a negative light. In fact it was meant to show the world who the Americans are and how they lived. Unfortunately at the time, racism and racial segregation was part of the daily life. Robert Frank took photos everyday and everywhere he went to show American life to the world. However, many of the photos were not acceptable to Americans. Because of the pure nature of the photos, I believe they are the best photos that anyone could have taken at the time to truly show American life. Robert Frank’s photos is artistic just because of how true it is to the main objective. The darker side of America that no one knew about is what is most artistic about his photos. Politics also played a huge role due to the negative effects of Robert’s photos. Usually American’s were seen in a positive light but for the first time it showed the negative and hostile environment American’s lived in.

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