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Posts Tagged ‘Black and white photography at Blogfinger’

Paul Goldfinger photograph. M246 Monochrom. January 2020. © Click to enlarge.

 

BILLIE EILISH won 5 Grammy’s at the 2020 awards, and she is 18 years old.  Her unique sound was created in her bedroom with her brother, and her first hit, in 2016, was “Ocean Eyes” which is the song below.

 

 

 

Billie Eilish at the Grammys 2020

 

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Robert Frank's book The Americans was first published in France in 1958 and then in New York in 1959.

Robert Frank’s book “The Americans” was first published in France in 1958 and then in New York in 1959. The image on the cover was taken in Hoboken post WWII— –a time when patriotism was sweeping the country.  All photos are from this book.

By Paul Goldfinger, photography editor @Blogfinger:    (September 10, 2019  Robert Frank died at age 91 in Nova Scotia)

Robert Frank was born in Switzerland in 1924. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1947, having been trained as a photographer. In New York he found work in fashion photography. But his real love was as a street shooter, going out and recording images that were spontaneous and insightful. He never spoke to his subjects, preferring to walk the streets, point, shoot and move on. He became an influential  street photographer.

His work was original with a style of imagery that hadn’t exactly been seen before, although he, like many artists, drew inspiration from those who came before including Walker Evans and Edward Steichen, whom Frank knew personally.  Earlier work by others had similar qualities including the famous Farm Security Administration photographs by a team in the 1930’s documenting the Dust Bowl including Gordon Parks and Dorothea Lange.  Then there were the war photographers  including Robert Capa from the 1940’s.

In 1950 he was in a famous group show at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Other street photographers were in turn inspired by him, include Joel Myerowitz and Gary Winogrand.

In 1955  he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to travel around the country and record the lives of Americans in all sorts of settings. He drove around in a second hand Ford, staying in cheap hotels. His photographs are of old mining towns, black churches, factories and bars. He took 28,000 images, but only 83 wound up in his book The Americans.  I have a 1994 edition made by the Swiss/German publisher Scalo.  Jack Kerouac provided the introduction.

The images in this article have been scanned from my copy of the book. You will see that his style is very bold and contrasty. It is a powerful, in-your -face method of shooting, and I strive for that myself.

Butte, Montana, an old mining town. Frank shot this out his hotel window.

Butte, Montana, an old mining town. Frank shot this out his hotel window.

Frank’s view of America was critical. He chose to look at people who seemed to be failing in our society, such as poor blacks and transvestites. When he returned home in 1957, his work was rejected by magazines and by other photographers. He was accused of being unfairly critical of America, presenting the country as a bleak, depressing and oppressive place.  His photographs were considered technically poor and sloppy.    But images like his of America had never been seen before.  Photo magazines like Life and Look usually portrayed America by putting on a 1950’s happy face.

City Hall, Reno, Nevada. ©

City Hall, Reno, Nevada. ©

After publication of the book in 1958 in France and then in the US, his work began to receive critical acclaim as the 1960’s social upheavals began. It was said that he changed the way America of the 1950’s saw itself and it changed the way many photographers worked.

Barber shop through screen door. McClellanville, South Carolina. ©

Barber shop through screen door. McClellanville, South Carolina. ©

Not long after, Frank became a film maker, including one controversial film about the Rolling Stones.   Others have made documentaries about him and his work as well as gallery shows, including at the National Gallery of Art.   He is now in his ’90’s and he lives in Greenwich Village and Nova Scotia.

Robert Frank c 2009, New York City.

Robert Frank c 2009, New York City.

Here is a link to a BF article about one of our photographers who emulated Robert Frank:

Moe Demby and Robert Frank

The link below is of a fine NPR* broadcast from February 2008.

NPR link Robt. Frank   *

LUCIA MICARELLI.   “My Funny Valentine.”  (album version) from her album  Music From a Farther Room

Lucia Micarelli.

Lucia Micarelli.

 

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5th Avenue in the '70's.  August, 2014. By Paul Golfinger from the NYC Street series. ©

5th Avenue in the ’70’s. August, 2014. By Paul Goldfinger from the NYC Street series. ©  Click to enlarge this uptown girl.

BILLY JOEL 

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