Robert Frank exhibit

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bill h

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Planning to visit the Robert Frank exhibit at Bowdoin Art Museum this week. Insightful review in the Sunday Globe by Mark Feeney, if you need encouragement: http://bit.ly/2cXgJAo "Robert Frank, Swiss, unobtrusive, nice, with that little camera that he raises and snaps with one hand, sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film, taking rank among the tragic poets of the world."

Anyone in? The exhibit "This is a portrait if I say so", also at Bowdoin is likewise well worth seeing.
 

Xia_Ke

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Thanks for sharing! Will need to drive up sometime soon to check it out.
 
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bill h

bill h

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The show (Robert Frank: Sideways at Bowdoin Art Museum) is from a collection of Frank's photos taken in Europe, South America and in the United States before the publication of his famous book, The Americans, which we Americans found so cruelly true that we refused to publish at first. As always, I am impressed by his work, at least partly because I use the same instrument as did he and these many years later still find him haunting my viewfinder.
These are signed prints, and in one case the date is scratched out and corrected and so I assume these are original prints made by Frank. Certainly some of them have what we might call problems: dust, irregular rebate, scratches, and really, none of these imperfections matter, none of them detract from the content.
In one print a girl looks right at the camera. Not a problem. Many are dark, maybe too dark, without the brilliant manipulations of a Eugene Smith to explode light in your face (love his work). This just provokes the viewer to look more closely.
The prints all are smallish and all appear to be approximately full frame, most horizontal, and most appear to have been photographed with a 50mm lens, using that frame fully. A few suggest a wider angle, a few suggest a short telephoto but all, in my judgment, could have been made by that simple combination, normal camera and normal lens.
One picture that might have been taken by holding the camera overhead, shows two women talking, low in frame, and above their heads a pair of walking legs, making a diamond pattern of walker and talkers. I saw two young women looking at it dismissively and wanted to call on them to take another look, but I didn't.
Another is a direct view of a family on a porch, a southern porch, the subjects looking seriously at the photographer and the photographer taking their picture respectfully. Could it have been taken today?
I came away thinking that once you master the basic rules, exposure doesn't matter, focus doesn't matter, perfect printing doesn't matter, only seeing matters. The less there is between the eye and the print the better.
Photography is about content.
 

Dali

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Bold conclusion...
 

Dali

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Thanks. I like Klein's work too and Michals is someone interesting (and the only well-known photographer I met decades ago).

When I write "bold conclusion", I mean that saying that photography is about content might not be that well received here even if I fully agree with you.

I read something yesterday (was it written by Bernard Plossu?) and it was exactly your last statement.
 
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