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Few Are Chosen: Street Photography and the Book, 1936–1966

November 5, 2004–March 6, 2005

Robert Frank

One of the most influential photography monographs is Robert Frank's The Americans of 1959, originally published as Les Américains in France the previous year. The book is the result of the Swiss-born Frank's (American, born 1924) travels throughout the United States on a Guggenheim fellowship in 1955 and 1956. Like his Beat-era contemporaries Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac (who wrote the book's introduction), Frank captured the loneliness, alienation, and social tensions simmering beneath the surface contentment of Eisenhower's America with a visionary brilliance. Frank's assured sequencing of images moves deftly from corrosive anger to gentle pathos to bedazzled transcendence.