(1924 - )
Robert Frank is a Jewish (Swiss-born) American photographer.
He was born on November 9, 1924 in Zurich, Switzerland. Frank and
his family remained safe in Switzerland during World
War II in spite of the close and real threat of Nazi persecution. In 1946, he created his
first hand-made book of photographs, titled 40 Fotos. In 1947,
Frank immigrated to the United States and obtained a job in New York
City as a fashion photographer for Harper’s Bazaar. Frank
was chosen to participate at the Museum of Modern Art, in an exhibit
show, 51 American Photographers. Dissatisfied by America’s
obsession with money and its often fast pace, he continued to travel
much, moving his family briefly to Paris. When Frank returned to the
United States in 1953, he began to work as a freelance photojournalist
for magazines including McCall’s, Vogue, and Fortune.
In 1955, Frank was was awarded a grant from the John
Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to document American society. In
1958, Frank released his most famous work, the photographic book, The Americans. This collection of pictures reflected on American
society post-World War II. Frank found interest in documenting the stark
contrast between the optimism of the 1950s and the bitter realities
of class and racial differences. The Americans, first received much
criticism on account of its divergence from contemporary photography.
Nevertheless, in 1962, his work was presented at MOMA in New York City.
By the end of the 1950s, Frank began to veer away from
photography to concentrate on film making, including the critically
acclaimed film, Pull My Daisy (1959). Other films by Frank include, Cocksucker Blues, Keep Busy and Candy Mountain.
During the 1970s, Frank returned his attention to still
images and photography, publishing his second book, Lines of My Hand,
in 1972. In 1996, Frank was awarded the prestigious Hasselblad Award
Sources: “Robert Frank (1924 - ).” American Jewish Historical Society, American Jewish Desk Reference, (NY: Random House, 1999) pg. 311, Wikipedia