Robert Frank (Zürich, Switzerland, 1924 – Nova Scotia, Canada, 2019) was one the most influential photographers of the mid-20th century. At the age of 18 he began working in commercial photography in Switzerland and in 1947 he immigrated to the United States where he was hired by the magazine Harper’s Bazaar as a fashion photographer. In the 1950s he worked as a photojournalist for different publications such as Life, Look, and Vogue, among others.
With the help of his friend Walker Evans, in 1955 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship that allowed him to travel the United States with his 35mm Leica camera. During these trips he made the photographs that would be included in his celebrated book The Americans, initially published in France in 1958. The North American version of the publication (1959) included a prologue by writer Jack Kerouac and offered a somber perspective on the country through ironic images and audacious compositions. With this series the author paved the way for a new subjective documentary current based on the stream of consciousness literary style, breaking with Henri Cartier-Bresson’s aesthetic of the decisive moment, as well as with the humanism linked to photographs featured in the exhibition The Family of Man.
Robert Frank also produced 20 films such as the 1972 documentary Cocksucker Blues on the Rolling Stones’ tour of the United States of that same year. Major exhibitions of work have been on display at museums such as the National Gallery of Art in Washington (1994 and 2009) and the Tate Modern in London (2006). Likewise Robert Frank has received numerous awards such as the Hasselblad Award in 1996.