‘The Americans…60 years after Frank’ is being presented as a limited edition artists’ book. Principal photography is well underway, with a pro-forma completion date of late 2016.
I set out to accomplish two goals with this project. The first is to pay homage to Robert Frank’s 1950’s landmark book ‘The Americans.’ The second and more important goal for me, is to bring Frank’s work up to date, albeit with a different photographer’s eye in charge.
I have not set out to make a ‘carbon copy’ or pastiche of Frank’s work. When the opportunity presents itself, I may pay tribute in a few photos that may echo some of Frank’s work. In any case, I am not trying to recreate any of Frank’s photographs or slavishly revisit specific geographic locations contained in his book.
With reference to bringing things up to date; this was to be accomplished not only with a different society from the passage of 60 years time, but also with new technology to apply to the job i.e., digital imaging, HDR, post processing and infrared cameras.
Some critics of Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’ said the book was not a true portrait of America and should have been called ‘Some Americans.’ Well, no matter how hard one works to make a book complete, it becomes out of date the moment the last photo is snapped.
In terms of practicality, anytime a photographer sets out to document a project it is always prejudiced by the photographer’s eye, likes and dislikes. In the case of a project so vast as to lay claim to ‘All of the Americans,’ such a project would be an impossibility in any case.
So, the same valid criticism that goes for Frank’s work, goes for this book…it is an incomplete ‘snapshot of Americana’ that caught my eye enough to memorialize it. It is meant only to give the viewer a small slice of America…60 years after Frank.