Robert Frank – Further Research!


Robert Frank born in Switzerland didn’t want to build his future in the country. He wanted something bigger, Frank embarked on his journey to America and spent a considerable amount of time in NYC, where he met some of the most influential photographers and curators at the time including Andre Kertesz, Walker Evans, Louis Faurer, and Edward Steichen. From this Frank developed his skills behind a camera. However in around 1953, Frank became discouraged after wandering and shooting the streets of NYC for about 6 years. One of his main frustrations was that he couldn’t get his photographs published more widely. For example, he would often be rejected by LIFE magazine to publish his work. 

This is a quote frank said about LIFE magazine. 

“I developed a tremendous contempt for LIFE, which helped me. You have to be enraged. I also wanted to follow my own intuition and do it my own way, and to make concessions – not make a LIFE story. That was another thing I hated. Those goddamned stories with a beginning and an end. If I hate all those stories with a beginning, a middle, and an end then obviously I will make an effort to produce something that will stand up to those stories but not be like them”.

A massive influence of Robert Frank was Cartier Bresson or the “God Father of Street Photography” When Frank first moved to NYC, one of the first photography exhibitions he saw was by Henri Cartier Bresson at the MOMA. Cartier Bresson’s work had a huge impact on Frank that challenged him to take his photography to the next level. “Looking In”.

“Frank quickly learned from and assimilated new influences, often only to turn against them after extracting that all he found useful, a pattern that repeated itself throughout his life. Within the first three weeks of his arrival in New York, he visited the Henri Cartier Bresson exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, among the last of the exhibitions that Beaumont and Nancy Newhall organized here. Frank was deeply impressed, it challenged him to become more than a fashion photographer.

Furthermore Cartier-Bresson’s exhibition showed Frank the power of photography and how many opportunities it presented. Frank said later that seeing that exhibition 

“Was a very good instruction.” He saw that the field of photography was much broader and more open to him, continuing: “I had the feeling that I could do something else. I just saw possibilities. I wanted to try them and do them”. 

Frank wasn’t always this good behind a camera he took on a lot of techniques from different photographers that made he the better and more all round and more technically developed photographer. One of the photographers he met was Alexey Brodovitch. 

When Frank was a young photographer, he shot mostly with a medium-format square-format Rolleiflex camera. However Alexey Brodovitch, a Russian-born photographer, designer and instructor (who Frank looked up to) suggested him to ditch the Rolleiflex for a 35mm Leica. Brodovitch suggested that the Leica could create more fluid, immediate images, whereas the Rolleiflex was much slower and bulkier by comparison. 

Furthermore, Brodovitch encouraged Frank to “unlearn his methodological Swiss habits and taught him to take risks”. You can see that Frank took up Brodovitch’s advice by leaving his comfortable home of Switzerland to pursue photography in NYC. 

One of the most poignant themes that Frank pursued in “The Americans” was the disparity of wealth in America, as well as the blatant racism. One of the subject matters that hadn’t been explored much during his period was the rich. He didn’t want to just photograph the poor and the middle class – as he wanted to paint a fuller- picture of the American socio-economic classes. 

He wanted the show the divide from wealthy and poor. Traveling through America Frank captured Hundreds of photos in this way. Just take the front cover of “The Americans”. Look at the divide of white people to black people, they don’t want to sit with them that’s why they’re at the back of the bus. 

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America in the 1950’s 

In the 1950’s in America is was just recovering from the war then were recovering very quickly and very strongly with the era for Elvis Presley and Martin Luther King Jr. and also Marilyn Monroe so the social side of it was absolutely huge with celebrities and the news following everything Martin Luther King Jr. did. But not everything was about the celebrities and what they did everything was changing from The Cold war being taken place and the Korean War being held it was a very tense time for the government. With an increase in manufacturing and home construction amongst a post-World War II economic boom. The Cold War and its associated conflicts helped create a politically conservative climate in the country, as the quasi-confrontation intensified throughout the entire decade.

The impact this gave on Robert Frank was that everything was blooming the cities were busier than ever that gave Frank the edge to take a lot of street photography. 


Take this photography of the people on the bus, I think it’s probably my favourite of the lot and that because of  lot of reasons. Firstly the lines on the bus everything it’s pretty much square so technically it’s already a pretty good photo, but that,s not why I like it I like the way he’s portrayed the racism in America with the white people sitting away from the black people and even the type of clothes they’re wearing with the small children in the middle of the photograph wearing a suit and a dress and the black man to the right just wearing a old shirt. This also opens my eyes to the wealth divide in America in the 1950’s. 

Robert Frank has really influenced my into going out and taking a lot of street photography photos because just looking at every single photo he takes it tells a story and that what I want my photos to do. I don’t look for how well the golden ratio has worked it a photo or how good of a composition there is I look for the story and Robert Frank constantly tells me  about America through his photographs. 



The Photos on the top row have been taken by myself and the photos on the bottom row have been taken by Lee Friedlander. Now lots of my juxtapositions have been about the composition to the photographers photos and the way they’ve been taken but not actually how they look with my photos. This juxtaposition is what you’d expect. If all of these photographs were on the wall at a studio or art gallery then you wouldn’t hesitate top think they’re all Lee Friedlander’s photographs. 

Edited Photos – ‘SHOOT 2!’

To edit this photography in the way I wanted too, Which was to blur the outside of the photograph and leave the middle in focus. I firstly selected a circle in the middle of the picture then selected the inverse to get the outside and started a lens blur. Secondly, I made the photo black and white and adjusted the sliders so the colours made more of an impact to the overall contrast of the photograph. After this my last step was to up the brightness and up the contrast so that photo didn’t look too dark for being in black and white.

This is the second photo I edited, I edited it in a similar way to the first one but started off with making the photography look level by cropping it and rotating it. Then turned it black and white. Using the sliders helped my develop how I wanted the black and white to actually look. The contrast between the original colours made a huge difference to the end product. Lastly, I changed the brightness and the contrast to make the photograph look better in black and white. 

This photo is one that I didn’t think I would have in this shoot because of of my recent photographs being shot on the streets. However I think that this can be classed into Street Photography. I edited by selecting the outside space round the window then darkening it. Secondly, I enhanced the image throigh the window and showed more of the city scape. And finally I upped the brightness and the contrast. 

Below are some of my other edited images. 

Shoot 2!

This is my second shoot for street photography 1. The photographs marked in red I don’t like or I will be discarding. The photographs in green I like and I will be editing and presenting them. 

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These three images I won’t be making black and white because I like the sky and the sunset just how it is, I don’t want to ruin the sunset by making it black and white. But I will be editing them in my own way. Maybe to increase the look of the sunset. 






These images are the photos I have chosen to edit and use in this post from my Street photography 2 shoot. With these photographs I have edits them in the style of a few photographers. Joel Meyerowitz, Cartier-Bresson and Lee Friedlander. 

With editing this photograph, Firstly I changed it from colour to black and white, using the sliders I changed the colours and the contrast and darkness and brightness of these colours to suit the photograph. Secondly, I changed the overall brightness of the image by increasing it. Then, the contrast and how deep the blacks are from the whites. Finally I resized the image to get the best ratio of pixels. 

With this photo I had to increase the brightness and the contrast before making it black and white because it was a rather dark photo in the first place. Then I turned it black and white and adjusted the sliders again. This time I noticed that the lines of the tracks were yellow and chose to brighten the yellow so that it would come up easier to see on the final photo. 

Lee Friedlander “JUXTAPOSITION”

These images are my Juxtapositions or interpretations of Lee Friedlander’s photographs. I have chosen these images because of the colour tone, contrast and light. Not because they look the same. I have edited these photographs in a way that they look original and authentic just like Friedlander’s. 

Edited Photos From Shoot 1

These images I have edited to look the way I want them to look. I want them to come across older than what they are I want them to look luke they’ve been captured on an old black and white camera because when I think about a journey I think about the old ones to more famous ones back in the day.

To actually edit these photographs I Went into Photos and increased the exposure of them (making them seem more bright more lighter) Then I also increase contrast between the exposure so then the whole image doesn’t just look really bright and lastly I increased the shadows. 

All of the images were turned to black and white before the process happened.